22-Plus Best Places to Retire for Tennis


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The resurgence of tennis, both as a recreational sport and a tool for promoting longevity and preserving youth, has future retirees rethinking their retirement havens. The usual recommendations are adult communities that offer a variety of recreational activities for both socialization and fitness maintenance. Where can one find these?

The best places to retire for tennis are those with warmer climates that allow year-round engagement in the sport, like California, Hawaii, Florida, and the southern states. Popular countries for 24/365 tennis are France and Spain as well as tropical islands and archipelagos on various continents.

Many tennis retirement communities in the US are found in the southern east coast states. These gated enclaves are more laid-back and recreational than the neighborhoods in the tournament circuit that attract competitive tennis players. Read on to get familiar with this type of residence here and around the globe that enables retirees to engage in an active lifestyle throughout their golden years.

Desirable Elements in a Tennis Haven

According to Play Your Court, the best tennis-related venues for retirement are those that have many tennis courts, lots of registered players, and leagues of various levels. The latter two are important so that retirees have players to rally with, regardless of their skill level. These are the other factors to consider in choosing your tennis retirement home: 

  • court surface variety
  • tennis clubs
  • professional shops
  • in-house instructors
  • tournaments
  • boot camps or clinics
  • leagues

Tennis-Centric Retirement Venues on Home Turf

22-Plus Best Places to Retire for Tennis

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you can spend the rest of your life playing matches with other retirees? You can, with the right community. Remember that states with warm climates provide cheaper access to tennis facilities during the winter months.

Check out these communities for tennis fans right here on home territory.

Washington, DC

Despite our capital having a cost of living higher than the national average, many still retire here, unfazed by the tourists. From a health and wellness perspective, DC comes up tops with 90% of its residents insured. They are also healthier than average, with impressive fitness levels, thanks to superior medical and recreation facilities.

The city has 224 tennis courts categorized into paid, public, private (exclusive), and private but welcomes non-members. The courts are indoor, outdoor, and lit.

Bethesda, Maryland

Bethesda has the most tennis players per capita, according to InvestorPlace. It has many exceptional country clubs and world-class tennis amenities, such as the Bethesda Tennis Academy and the Bethesda Country Club. The latter is the DC Metro Area’s foremost tennis, golf, and swim club. Their tennis director is a Hall of Famer at the US Professional Tennis Association’s mid-Atlantic division.

Boston, Massachusetts

Pro tennis has a major presence in this college town, which is home to the Boston Lobsters, led by John Isner. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranked him eighth in men’s singles.

Boston was a tennis hub before it attained football status. The city has 84 courts. Boston Common is a popular tennis venue. Reserve your place to avoid queues.

Many Boston academics are tennis aficionados. Five of the top 25 teams in Women’s Division III come from the Boston area: Brandeis, Tufts, Wellesley, Babson, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee’s capital hosts the yearly Music City Tennis Invitational Tournament, which has raised millions for the Children’s Hospital in Vanderbilt. The city is also the venue of the multi-level round-robin doubles tourney in April.

Nashville’s Centennial Sportsplex has 13 outdoor tennis courts, four indoor courts, and eight children’s courts. Outside the complex are 62 other courts. The city is home to the Vanderbilt Commodores, whose tennis teams are ranked nationally.

St. Louis, Missouri

This major college tennis hub is the hometown of tennis whiz Jimmy Connors. Apart from its many public courts, St. Louis has 18 lighted courts in its Dwight Davis Tennis Center and 12 in Tower Grove Park’s tennis center. The men’s and women’s teams of Washington University in St. Louis are important players in Division III schools. 

Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina’s capital hosts a women’s International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament every May. The prize ranges from $15,000 to $100,000. Raleigh is also the site of major college sports rivalries. Retirees have 98 tennis courts to choose from, 68 of which are lit.

South Carolina

Daniel Island

This island is in Charleston, one of the country’s top tennis towns with its 600 courts and 13,000-plus players—7,500 of whom participate in United States Tennis Association (USTA) leagues. Charleston held the title of America’s Best Tennis Town in 2010. Daniel Island hosts the Family Circle Cup women’s tourney yearly. Apart from the Daniel Island Club, it also has a tennis center with 18 courts.

Sea Pines

The Sea Pines Resort in Harbour Town hosts men’s pro golf in spring, but Tennis Magazine named it America’s Number Seven Ranked Tennis Resort and ranked it number one in tennis programs. The Sea Pines Racquet Club boasts 23 clay courts. Its stadium court holds 1,800 seats. The club offers tennis vacation packages and teaching clinics. Tournaments held here include the World Invitational and the CBS Classic.

Houston, Texas

Texas boasts a superb tennis environment as its climate allows outdoor tennis play throughout the year. Houston is home to River Oaks Country Club, which hosts the Men’s Clay Court Championship in April.

The city has 13 private courts and 51 public ones. Its Memorial Park Tennis Center has 18 courts and the Homer Ford Tennis Center has 16. It also has lots of indoor courts, such as those within tennis clubs like Westheimer Indoor Tennis and Fitness. The city hosts many tournaments and league matches.

Washington

Washington, our northwestern-most state, is one of seven that does not charge personal, corporate, and franchise taxes. Retirees will appreciate its 98 hospitals, one of them nationally ranked. Tennis and outdoor enthusiasts love to retire here as it has several retirement areas with a tennis slant.

Seattle, for one, isn’t just coffee, grunge, Windows, and Boeing territory, it’s also a tennis hub with 72 tennis courts, 66 of which are public. Another, Port Ludlow, a waterfront resort and mountainside retreat on Puget Sound, has tennis courts in addition to its 18-hole golf course and marina.

Cincinnati, Ohio

This city hosted the 2014 Western & Southern Open (aka Cincinnati Masters), an annual outdoor hard court tennis tournament held in Mason near Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the oldest tennis tournament in the US played in its original venue and the nations’ second largest summer tennis event after the US Open. Cincinnati is the hometown of several professional tennis players, including top-ranking Nicole Gibbs.

California

22-Plus Best Places to Retire for Tennis

Los Angeles

This city isn’t just the domain of Hollywood. It also represents all levels of tennis players, from newbies to global contenders. LA has 80 courts, 67 of which are public.

Collegiate tennis is alive and well in LA, with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) dominating Division I. The latter is said to be the best men’s team in the nation, with its women’s team top-ranked. UCLA is considered the best women’s team in the US, with its men’s team top-ranked.

San Diego

This city has the perfect climate for playing tennis all year round. San Diego is home to the Aviators World Team Tennis (WTT). They play at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California. The Aviators are the successors of two WTT franchises.

Tennis fans will appreciate Balboa Park’s tennis club, which has a 4,000-seat stadium court, 24 hard courts, and a challenge court. San Diego has 68 courts, 40 of which are public.

Laguna Woods Village

This 55-plus community in Orange County has multiple clubhouses, a tennis club, an on-site tennis instructor, an activities director, and 10 tennis courts, five of which are equipped with metered lighting. Each court is used according to the type of match.

Florida

This state has ‘given birth’ to tennis greats like Pancho Gonzalez. Tennis courts, resorts, and training centers line the beach fronts of Florida’s fabulous cities. These are just a few of them:

Miami

This city has 59 courts, 40 of which are public. At springtime, it hosts the Miami Open (aka Miami Masters), one of the world’s top professional tennis tournaments, attracting many of the sport’s top contenders. Pundits tagged it “Tournament of the Year” 10 times.

The Miami Open belongs to the men’s ATP Tour Masters 1000 circuit. It is also an important event on the women’s World Tennis Association Tour. College tennis is big here, too. Venues include the University of Miami.

Central Florida

One of the biggest active adult communities in Florida is a property called On Top of the World. Located in Ocala, it has resort-style amenities. Its Arbor Club offers residents a tennis instructor, pro shop, and six Plexicushion (hard court surface with an acrylic base) courts. Four courts are lighted. Its recreation center has four extra courts. Its tennis club offers tournaments, social events, lessons, and clinics.

Southeast and the Gulf Coast

Many other parts of Florida have tennis communities. Tampa is a favorite. In Clearwater, some tennis courts have water views. Possibly the best ones are in Palm Beach in the southeast. Also attractive to many retirees is the fact that this state doesn’t tax pension and social security.

The Harbour Ridge Yacht & Country Club is a tennis community in Stuart, a coastal town. It offers residents the Peter Burwash International (PBI) training programs, which is a professional tennis management entity. Stuart is the venue of many state-level championships.

A word of caution: Florida can be extremely humid. So those with fragile or wayward locks, prep it with appropriate hair products, secure it with a headband, or wear a hat before going out for a match.

Georgia

Atlanta

This city has a dynamic tennis community and players of all levels live here. It holds the Atlanta Open every year. It is home to Emory University—highly ranked in Division III—and one of the largest USTA chapters in the US. 

The Atlanta chapter operates the Atlanta Youth Tennis and Education Foundation, which offers wellness programs and tennis lessons to the city’s juvenile residents. USTA Atlanta also runs the nation’s most comprehensive junior and adult team tennis programs.

Atlanta residents claim it’s the world’s largest recreational competitive tennis city. Tennis leagues, such as K2, Visionary, USTA, Ultimate Tennis, and ALTA (Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association), are quite active here. It has an unbelievable number of courts, so you don’t have to worry about losing your place.

The Landings on Skidaway Island

This tennis community on a private island has 34 courts, 11 of them lit. The courts are located in three separate facilities throughout the island. Tennis professionals supervise the amateur club play here. The pros teach lessons, hold weekly drills and clinics, coach the club’s teams, and organize tournaments.

Hawaii

22-Plus Best Places to Retire for Tennis

This state’s tropical climate is excellent for year-round tennis. Tennis communities in the Big Island with excellent tennis programs include Hualalai Four Seasons Resort on the Kona coast, the Mauna Kea Resort (the only one with tennis courts next to the ocean), and Seaside Tennis Club, awarded for being one of the top 100 tennis resorts in the world. 

Sun City

This is a branded series of adult living neighborhoods. The first 55-plus community in the USA, it has branches in various states, including Arizona, California, South Carolina, Texas, and Georgia.

Other states where tennis lovers can retire:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington 
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire

Tennis-Centric Retirement Venues Overseas

There is a mind-boggling array of tennis-centric venues around the world suitable for retirement. What we have here is just a few of our choices, along with suggestions from Alternative Airlines.

Spain

Barcelona 

The predominant court in Barcelona is clay. The city holds weekly tournaments and has all levels of players. One tennis-centric property in Barcelona is the Sánchez-Casal Resort, targeted toward the truly dedicated tennis player. Its tennis programs are specifically geared toward high-performing adult and juvenile players.

This is the venue for those planning to go professional. The resort’s amenities include a zone for personal improvement, a swimming pool, a gym, and, of course, tennis courts. It is located five minutes from the airport.

The Southeast

Another recommendation is the La Manga tennis resort in southeastern Spain. It started as a golf complex but now has football fields and a tennis center with 28 tennis courts. Tennis great Manolo Santana was one of the pros who managed it.

Mauritius

The island’s tropical climate supports a vibrant tennis scene. The sport is practiced all over the island. Accommodations range from comfortable to extremely luxurious. Five-star resorts like Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa and St. Regis hold tennis programs. Many smaller clubs offer lessons or allow you to hit with the pros.

Nice, France

The Nice Lawn Tennis Club, founded in 1890, is located in central Nice. The city is host to the French Open, held in May and June. Nice’s 20 courts serve players of varying abilities. For the more serious player, Patrick Mouratoglou’s Academy is the better bet. Mouratoglou is a celebrated coach who counts Serena Williams as one of his mentees.

Living in Nice means you can explore the nearby towns and cities as well, all accessible via France’s efficient train network. Great for taking a break between sets.

The Bahamas

Palm Cay in the capital Nassau is a gated community with the ocean at its doorstep. Its 70 acres comprise a 200-plus berth marina, a gorgeous waterfront, and idyllic beaches. Included in its amenities are swimming pools and tennis courts. The climate affords retirees year-round tennis.

United Arab Emirates

Dubai in the UAE is home to the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship. The city has numerous private and public courts, but the most popular is the Clark Francis Tennis Academy. It has 20 branches, one of which is located in Dubai Sports City, a major sports hub.

Retirees can buy their own islands from any of the city’s stupendous real estate projects. Some have ‘built-in’ villas, swimming pools or lagoons, gyms, saunas, and tennis courts.

Mexico

This country has a tennis-appropriate climate. American expatriates, whether tennis aficionados or not, settle in various parts of the country for retirement because of the weather, proximity to the US, and the lower cost of living. The Riviera Maya on the northeastern Yucatán Peninsula is a favorite among retirees. All-inclusive resorts let you mix a beach lifestyle with tennis.

United Kingdom

We can’t end this article without mentioning Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis tournament and the most prestigious. It is the last remaining tennis tournament played on grass. All over the British Isles, tennis retirement communities abound despite the weather.

For retirees who choose England as their new home, the capital offers a wide range of tennis courts, from free to budget-friendly to posh and exclusive. To keep things simple, just visit the myriad of parks. You can reserve a Hyde Park court for a small fee. Coaches are available to teach short lessons. Those who prefer to play for free can use the courts at Goodmayes Park.

Other notable tennis cities:

  • Split, Croatia
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

Conclusion

More than an awesome sport, tennis is an excellent physical exercise for building strength and stamina. It also boosts cognitive ability and promotes mental health. Whatever your skill level, these benefits contribute to a well-balanced lifestyle in retirement. To sustain this lifestyle, one has to find the appropriate tennis retirement community.

The best ones offer world-class facilities, professional tennis mentorship, a friendly neighborhood, a wide range of leisure activities, and accessible essentials like hospitals, public transport, groceries, and banks.

We hope this article is instrumental in your finding the right retirement home. May your tennis dreams come true.

Sources

Ruth

Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

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