Bermuda boasts more than 100 clay and hard-surface tennis courts end to end, making the sport a true national pastime. Indeed, Bermudian Mary Outerbridge went down in the history books for introducing the game to America in 1874; she took a racquet, balls, a net, and rulebook with her on a visit to New York and was allowed to design a tennis court on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket Club, the first such court in the nation.
Most Bermuda hotels have courts, many lit for night play, as well as resident pros who offer clinics and private lessons (average rates start at $30 to $40 per half-hour). Proper tennis attire is required at most courts. Racquets can be rented and restrung at several centers.
Players will find October through May to be the best months for play, as summer’s heat and humidity make midday play, at least, debilitating throughout the summer. A panacea might be beach tennis, which made its debut in 2008, with international stars competing and demonstrating the sport—a fast-paced combo of tennis and volleyball played out on the sand.
The government-owned W. E. R. Joell Tennis Stadium in Pembroke is a popular venue for lessons, games, and local tennis championships. For more information, contact the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association (tel. 441/296-0834, blta [at] northrock [dot] bm).
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition