26 October 2018

An insider's guide to the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar

What can you expect when you book a visit to the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar? The Local Tennis Leagues team is currently on site with players taking part in an ITF Seniors 5 tournament. It is the perfect opportunity to explain how the centre works and why you should make it your home from home for tennis.

Rafa Nadal will not always be at the Academy but that said, if he can be, he probably will. Make no mistake, this is Rafa’s place. This week, we were in luck, although perhaps Rafa might not have seen it that way. While he might have expected be on tour, he is currently recovering from an injury sustained at the US Open and is using all the centre’s facilities to try to ensure he is fit for the Nitto ATP World Finals in London in November. That means it was almost impossible not to bump into Rafa this week, whether he was on his way to indoor training court or taking treatments in the luxury spa he shares with the centre’s guests.

But even if Rafa is not on site, his spirit pervades this centre. Most of the staff are locals and many of his family are involved in the running of the Academy. His father’s factory is even making the trophies for this week’s tournament, while Uncle Toni is the Pro Tour coach.

If all that sounds rather intimidating, do not be put off. You are soon part of the family whether you have come to compete, to train with the excellent coaches or to chill out in the facilities (don’t forget tennis is not the only thing on offer. If you are a cyclist, swimmer, runner or padel player, you are brilliantly catered for here).

Every day starts with a buffet breakfast, an international range of local fruit, meat, cheese, pastries etc but soon, if you are anything like us, you will be heading out to the courts. For ITF tournaments, this means the clay courts where in the café and tennis centre (above a very well equipped sport shop) you will find the organisers and the order of play. If you are coming for one of the tennis breaks, which are coaching based, you are likely to find your schedule takes you to the tournament-grade hard courts.

For this week’s ITF tournament, an over 35s event, players are organised into age categories and depending on numbers, play round robin matches or a knock out, with consolation matches for early losers. As well as singles (mens and womens), there is the opportunity, once on site, to pair up for doubles (mens, womens and mixed).

In tournament weeks, you may not play every day, as a complicated schedule has to be juggled by the ITF officials. But soon, you realise, you are getting probably as much competitive play as you can handle and that opportunities for casual and social play quickly materialise. If you are signing up for one of the all-year-round coaching-based breaks, your schedule is more predictable but even so, there will be plenty of time to visit the spa, and try out other classes (eg Zumba, pilates, spinning etc all of which are free).

Lunch, unless you are venturing into town (a 10 minute walk away), is on the terrace overlooking Rafa’s centre court. Most packages are half board, which includes breakfast and dinner, so budget  little extra for lunch and drinks.

One of the stand out qualities of the Academy is how friendly everyone is. Rafa will stop for a selfie and don’t be afraid to reach out to one of the coaches if you see them around the centre. They have some great tips and don’t mind being asked. The hotel staff are equally approachable and all speak excellent English (along with many other languages).

Dinner is either a high class buffet (when the centre is very busy) or waiter service and there are options for every taste, including vegetarians. You can even have dinner in the bar and watch the football if your team is playing.

At the end of a long day, you will appreciate the comfort of the rooms all of which are large size doubles, even if you are booking as a single person. Showers are en suite.

Keen to go? Here are the options for Local Tennis League players for your holiday.

  1. ITF Seniors Tournaments held in March, August and October 2019. Look out for special Local Tennis Leagues deals. At least one of these is likely to supported and accompanied by LTL staff

  2. Week long tennis camp, (Sunday to Sunday) or Tennis Breaks (Wednesday to Sunday or Sunday to Wednesday). These are held every week of the year, with two hours coaching per day (coach/player ratio 1 to 4). At least one of these is likely to supported and accompanied by LTL staff
  3. Toni Nadal Camp – “Live a week as a pro!” Includes 16 hours of coaching (coach/player ratio 1 to 4), 5 sessions of group fitness training (coach/player ration 1 to 4) and Q&A with Toni Nadal  
  4. Week long LTL hosted tournament in which a group of Local Tennis League players of all ages play each other in tournaments scheduled across the week. Dates for 2019 to be announced soon

For the latest information on discounts on any of these, see https://localtennisleagues.com/rafanadalacademy