Tennis With The Stars: A First Person Perspective
By: Joey Hanf
If you've never been on the tennis court with an ATP or WTA player.....well, you're probably just like the majority of tennis fans and players around the world. While there are hundreds of professional tournaments and viewing opportunities, there are virtually no public opportunities to hit tennis balls with the best players in the world. Sure, maybe some corporate executives get a chance after they sponsor a player or event, but for the public, these opportunities don't really exist. However, for one day of the year each Spring in Rancho Mirage, California, the public gets a chance to mix it up with some of the greatest tennis players in the world. Tennis With The Stars, a celebrity charity event hosted at Omni Rancho Las Palmas, is now in it's 7th year, and offers the once in a lifetime opportunity to compete with and against top ATP and WTA stars. The 2023 lineup includes Bob and Mike Bryan, Belinda Bencic, Caroline Garcia, Madison Keys, Alex De Minaur, Leylah Fernadez and JJ Wolf. For more info on tickets and playing opportunities, click here. If you're in the desert for Indian Wells and the BNP Paribas Open (and you should!), then kick of the week by playing some tennis of your own. Let's walk through what a day at Tennis With The Stars can look like for YOU. Specially, a player who is signed up for the Thrills and Drills clinic (priced at $500 pp). You'll arrive at Rancho Las Palmas at 2:30 pm, check in and head to the courts where a team of CDT pros will be hosting a high energy, action packed Kickoff Clinic. You'll get your timing down and adjust to the thin desert air before the stars arrive. At 3:30, all participants will head to center court where the ATP and WTA stars are introduced. It can be a little intimidating, and if you're feeling star-struck, don't worry, so is everyone else! After intros you'll head back to an assigned court and play King of the Court games AGAINST those same pros. Every 10 minutes you'll rotate courts and play with a new set of pros. Maybe you start withe Bryan Brothers, then take on Madison Keys and Belinda Bencic. You can actually tell your friends that you won a point against some of the best players in the world! After King of the Court ends, you'll be riding a high. Head to the VIP Spectator bar and order a signature cocktail and enjoy the Pro-Am! You'll see how truly impressive these pros are when you are sitting up close and personal with them. Finally, following the pro-am, head down and get a picture, autograph, and moment that will last a lifetime. I've been lucky enough to be part of this event for many years, and there is nothing else like in the tennis industry. Plan a year to attend - and play - with the stars. I hope to see you there!