Caneel Bay Resort’s already world-renowned tennis program is about to move up another notch.
The resort’s director of tennis, Patrick Alle, begins his Caneel Bay Tennis Pro Series in November, which will bring current and former touring tennis pros to the island for exhibition games and to work with both local residents and guests of the hotel.
Alle, who already has several pros lined up for November and December, said he hopes to make the series a monthly event.
“Every four or six weeks or so, I will bring down current or former touring pros to do clinics and exhibitions and fun things like that,” said Alle.
“In the last four to five years, we’ve gone from not even being on the radar as a tennis resort to being recognized as number 12 in the world and number one in the Caribbean,” said Alle. “That’s great, but we’ve really only done that by shaping up the facility and improving service.”
“I really think this is going to put us over the top as far as media exposure and attracting more guests,” Alle continued. “This is just the next step in what I outlined as a vision four or five years ago when I took over.”
The first event in the series, presented by Caneel Bay Resort and Peter Burwash International, is scheduled for November 8-10 and will feature 1993 French
Open winner Murphy Jensen and one of the top doubles players in the world during the 1980s, David Graham.
Jensen Brothers To Appear
“Murphy Jensen and his brother Luke, who is coming down in December, played doubles together and they sort of started the rock and roll tennis movement in the mid to late 1990s,” said Alle. “Murphy and his brother are some of the biggest high-energy personalities, so I wanted to bring them in to start this off on the right foot.”
Murphy Jensen hosts two shows on the Tennis Channel, and appeared in the movie Wimbledon with Kirsten Dunst. Graham now works as a professional tennis instructor in West Chester, New York. Luke Jensen, who is coming to the tennis series December 13-15, is ESPN’s tennis correspondent.
Residents and hotel guests will have the opportunity to play in a doubles clinic with Graham and Murphy Jensen, and the tennis pros will also play in an exhibition tournament with local tennis players.
“On Thursday, we’ll have our regular round robin and there will be giveaways and donations from St. John restaurants and businesses,” said Alle. “On Friday morning, we’ll have a doubles clinic with David and Murphy, and on Friday afternoon the two will have a pro exhibition with the top two guys on the V.I. Davis Cup Team. Then we’ll open it up at the end for some fun and allow the locals to play as well.”
On Saturday, November 10, Michele Krause of Cardio Tennis and the Tennis Industry of America, along with Murphy Jensen and Alle will offer a cardio tennis program.
“It’s been a big initiative in the USTA to increase participation in tennis, and it’s been very successful so far,” said Alle of the high-energy tennis workout. “It’s neat because you don’t have to be an experienced tennis player. I could be on the court with someone who’s never played tennis before and each of us would get an equally good workout.”
Media To Cover Series
The series will offer fun and games, autograph signing, and more importantly, greater exposure for the local tennis players and the Caneel Bay Resort, explained Alle.
“We’ll do some clinics, some autograph signings and some exhibitions every time,” he said. “All of these events are designed to get more exposure for the V.I. Davis Cup Team and tennis in general. And on the hotel front, anything we can do to increase the exposure as a tennis resort will always be my number one priority.”
Thanking residents who support the tennis program at Caneel is another goal of the series, Alle added.
“The locals are always very supportive of my tennis program throughout the year, and this is a nice way to do something for them,” he said.
Media To Cover Series
Alle hopes major media outlets, including Tennis Magazine and the Tennis Channel, will follow the action at the monthly tennis pro series.
“Each time, we’ll invite writers and photographers to cover the event, and we’re bringing down Tennis Magazine and a couple other magazines as well,” said Alle. “We’re also working with the Tennis Channel to get them to cover these things in the long run. So, this is actually starting to go global, which is very exciting on such a small island.”
The round robin in the first series is scheduled for Thursday, November 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The doubles clinic with celebrity pros is scheduled for Friday, November 9, from 8 to 9 a.m., and the cost is $20. The cardio tennis extravaganza is scheduled for Saturday, November 10, from 8 to 9:30 and 9:30 to 11 a.m. The cost is $20.
Tradewinds will announce the tennis pros coming to Caneel each month. For more information or to make reservations, call Alle at 776-6111 ext. 7234.
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