Tennis has long been known as a sport that attracts the wealthy. The modern sport originated from “real tennis,” a once popular game that seems quite odd now and is known as the “sport of kings.” Though the game has made strides towards inclusion in the modern era, and a number of successful players have emerged from hardscrabble backgrounds, exclusivity is still a big part of the sport. Some courts and clubs are so exclusive that you’d need to win the lottery to afford the fees. Here is a look at some of the most exclusive courts in tennis.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (London, United Kingdom)
The spiritual home of tennis is the All England Lawn Tennis Club in London, more commonly known as Wimbledon. Each year this tournament hosts the pinnacle of the grass court season (the oldest surface in the sport), and one of the four exclusive grand slam tournaments, the Wimbledon Championships. Nearly every legend of the sport has competed at Wimbledon, and the tournament has been a highlight of the season both in the amateur and the open (professional) era. The tennis club is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of modern London, and still enforces more traditional policies like an all-white dress code. Membership is limited by invitation only, and you can’t but your way in. Wimbledon prides itself on being a pillar to tennis in the UK, and being selectively fair in its admissions process rather than simply selling memberships to the highest bidder.
The Monte Carlo Country Club (Monaco)
The Monte Carlo Country Club is another venue on this list that hosts high level professional tennis. Monaco’s exclusive tennis club plays host to the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters ATP tournament yearly, the players love the quality and luxury of this clay court venue, and many of the top pros use it as a place to train even when the Rolex Masters isn’t taking place. Admission runs in the thousands yearly to be able to play at this picturesque seaside venue and like Wimbledon, access is invitation only.
Burj Al-Arab Rooftop Tennis Court (Dubai, UAE)
The Burj Al-Arab rooftop tennis court is so exclusive that it presently doesn’t exist. This court was built high on top of the Burj Al-Arab luxury hotel in Dubai, one of the tallest buildings in the world. For a special promotional “match” between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer the hotel’s helipad was turned into a playable tennis court. Once the promotion was over, the court was removed, so if you want to play tennis among the clouds you’d need to shell out a large amount of money and have some powerful connections to get this court reinstalled.
Astor Private Court (New York, USA)
Astor Private Court in New York is the modern renovation of the super rich John Jacob Astor’s historic private tennis court. The home/resort is privately owned now meaning that playing on this court requires the right connections.
Tennis de la Cavalerie (Paris, France)
This indoor hard court is designated a historic monument in Paris, on one of the higher floors of an art-deco building. Opened in 1924 and renovated in 2000, the artistic roof is the draw of this court that isn’t far from some of the biggest sights in Paris like the Eiffel Tower. The club currently boasts less than 300 members.
Il San Pietro di Positano (Positano, Italy)
This luxury resort on the Italian coast just south of Naples features a beautiful tennis court that overlooks the Mediterranean sea and a cliff line. Playing here will set you back a pretty penny, as this 5 star resort with a private beach spares no luxury, and the price attached reflects that.
Rafael Nadal Tennis Centre at the Sani Resort (Sani, Greece)
The Rafael Nadal Tennis Centre at the Sani Resort in Greece is one of a few exclusive tennis academies that dot the globe. Nadal also has a training academy in Mallorca, Spain and Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou has an academy in France, along with Nick Bollettieri’s IMG Resort academy in Florida.
These academies cost tens of thousands a year to train at full time and feature world class coaching and support to help aspiring talents reach their peak potential. Nadal’s Sani, Greece academy is unique in that it offers for programs for guests at the resort and visitors to the area, rather than just rising talents. These clay courts approved by Nadal himself are located on a stunning coastline and are exclusive but accessible.
Fisher Island Club (Miami, USA)
The Fisher Island Club in Miami is known as a hangout for the 1%. Located just a short boat ride from downtown Miami, the Fisher Island club features tennis among other incredible amenities such as golf and the beach. This club embraces the country club lifestyle and will set you back $250,000 or more for a full membership. The club’s emphasis on tennis is clear, with multiple surfaces offered including grass and clay, not just hard courts.