Could tennis coaching in Lanzarote make Lyndsey Heffernan a player?
I grew up in Wimbledon, so there’s really no excuse for the fact I don’t know my ace from my advantage. I long to hit the local tennis courts on sunny days, but it’s not much fun when I spend the entire time picking up missed balls.
I’ve considered taking lessons, but the thought of learning with a bunch of six-year-olds has always put me off. However, jetting off for some tuition in the sun is a whole other, ahem, ball game. So here I am in the lovely Los Jameos Playa hotel in Lanzarote – and there’s not a child in sight as I arrive at the courts for my first tennis lesson with coach Xavier. I’m hoping he’ll help me master the basics so I can finally have a half-decent rally, but I’m not expecting miracles... Xavier starts me off with a warm-up jog around the court, which I have to do while keeping the ball balanced on my tennis racket – like a giant egg-and-spoon race. The lesson continues with more ball-control exercises before Xavier teaches me the correct way to hold the racket (not as obvious as I’d thought) and we move on to hitting the ball. There lies the rub! When mine flies a mile into the sky and lands in next door’s tennis court, it becomes clear why I usually spend more time picking up the balls than playing any tennis. Xavier tells me not to put so much power behind my swing and explains the racket will provide the resistance – I just need to angle it correctly. And he’s right! Before long, I’m actually hitting the ball into the box, and we even have a few rallies that go into double figures. I was worried I’d exasperate Xavier with my novice status, but he’s the most patient man in the universe, always full of encouragement. He changes the exercises as soon as I’ve mastered them, which means the hour-long tennis lessons fly by, after which I make full use of the hotel’s other Zesty amenities: yoga, pool, gym, aqua aerobics classes and a much-needed massage for my aching muscles. Learning pointers from a pro in a beautiful destination definitely beats queuing up to serve with a bunch of primary schoolers, and given another week, I’d have been heading back to Wimbledon in search of a trophy. Maybe.
Classic Collection Holidays offers seven nights at Seaside Los Jameos Playa, from £575 pp (classic-collection.co.uk; 0800 294 9315) inc flights and transfers. Private tennis lessons, provided by PBI, cost from 40€ (book: seaside-hotels.com; 00 34 928 511717)
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites