I can't quite believe that we have been doing tennis holidays in Italy since 1994. The initial years were a good excuse for me to go back to Pisa and visit my friends where I had been living and coaching tennis since the mid eighties. From the beginning, very fortunately, I managed to persuade my tennis pal from junior days, Laura Middleton, to join me in this new adventure and our efforts as hosts has continued to this day! Giving up her career as a bank manager was a brave choice and one that I will always be grateful for! Laura's mum should also be thanked for her great support over all these years, even if her promise to let us know when we are passed our sell-by date may be ignored.
I must also give credit and a huge thanks to my dear friends in Tuscany who supported me so much in the early years. Antonio & Maria Pia Nesti, Carlo Paolino, and my great friend and inspiration in life , Andrea Bottai (who is tragically no longer with us). The whole idea of the holiday was inspired by these great people who helped me to fall in love with Italy.
On the coaching side we have been most fortunate to retain the help of Gabriella Testa in Lucca, Francesco Butinelli in Sardinia and Andrea Fantechi & Antonio Padovani in Florence. These wonderful coaches along with many others over the years have been fundamental to our success and I thank them all.
"so much more than just a tennis holiday"
Our company slogan "so much more than just a tennis holiday" is something that we have always aimed to achieve by introducing people to the real Italy, going where locals tend to go as well as the obvious tourist attractions. Helping our clients to navigate the intricacies of Italian life and understand why, they do what they do, in their own time and in classic Italian style has always been one of our main goals. I truly believe that this is one of the reasons that so many of our clients return as they begin to feel part of Italy and understand more of its nuances. While the tennis format hasn't changed fundamentally, we have always listened to feedback and try to improve it with little tweaks where necessary. Our regulars seem to like it just as it is!
We started in Pisa in 1994 and then transferred to Lucca a few years later before adding Sardinia and then Florence. Sicily was the next addition when we began questioning the wisdom of being called "Tuscan Tennis", but we felt that Tuscany was our spiritual home so the name remained. In the past few years we have added Rome for our first "play and see tennis" holiday at the Italian Open.This has been hugely popular, with the 2024 dates being announced as part of this newsletter.
We do hope to visit Sicily again in the near future as it is such an amazing place to go and if we can sort out a few issues with our local Don Corleone (club president) it will happen again. I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse!
I have thanked all of the people who have helped me create and develop Tuscan Tennis Holidays but I have to say a massive thanks to all of our clients who have continued to support us over the past 30 years. Too many to mention by name and so many who have become good friends even if we only tend to see each other once a year! We will never take this loyalty for granted and will always try to deliver something that is "so much more than a tennis holiday". Both Laura and I really do care so much about the holiday and always strive to deliver a special week for our tennis and Italian loving clients.
So..... here's to the next however many years with a bit of luck and good health. Looking forward as always to meeting up with you somewhere in Italy in 2024 to celebrate 30 years of fun.