One of the world’s most renowned tennis tournaments takes place in Wimbledon, south-west London, from Monday. And so for the next fortnight, the area will be in the spotlight. We’ll all be talking about – and playing – tennis, which, away from the grunting and gurning of the professional game, is a useful skill to have. For those wishing to hone their talents and host their own tournaments, we serve up a grand slam of houses with great tennis courts.
▲ Wexford Avenue, South Africa, R25m (approx £2.25m)
Where: Westcliff, Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa.
What: A six-bedroom house with electric gates and a guard house.
Why: Computerised irrigation ensures that the foliage surrounding the court and the lavender bushes lining the drive remain lush. Just a gentle lob’s distance apart, the pool and new floodlit tennis court will provide the perfect evening braai [South African barbecue] location for your neighbours. If home entertaining palls, the internationally renowned Westcliff Hotel is nearby, 36 of South Africa’s top 100 golf courses are within an hour’s drive and the zoo is at the bottom of the hill.
Who: Pam Golding Properties, www.pamgolding.co.za, tel: +27 (0)11 380 0000
▲ Prospect Cottage, UK, £3.25m
Where: Kingston-upon-Thames, four miles from the All-England Club, Wimbledon.
What: A five-bedroom house with indoor swimming pool and all-weather tennis court.
Why: It’s so close to Wimbledon that you can practically hear Maria Sharapova from the terrace. For deer and landscape lovers, Richmond Park is walking distance, and Kingston itself – so named because Saxon kings were crowned there – is more pleasant that you might think, with a charming ancient market square.
Who: Knight Frank Wimbledon, www.knight-frank.com, tel: +44 (0)20 8946 0026
▲ Hill House, UK, £3.5m
Where: Slinfold, West Sussex, approx. 40 miles (64km) from London.
What: A six-bedroom house dating from the 16th century with 11.2 acres (4.5ha) and landscaped gardens.
Why: Tennis is strong in this area, so this fine court, overlooked by a handsome country house, should bring instant popularity. River frontage on the River Arun, woodland, gym and a swimming pool add to the appeal. For wet weather, there’s a large games room with pool and table-tennis. Even more appealing perhaps, the price has just been reduced by £500,000.
Who Hamptons International, www.hamptons.co.uk, tel: +44 (0)1403 262828
Point House, Bahamas, $35m ►
Where: Lyford Cay, New Providence Island, Bahamas.
What: A six-bedroom house in 3.4 acres (1.4ha) with a boathouse and Balinese guest pavilion.
Why: Nestled in one of the world’s poshest private neighbourhoods, the lodge’s grass tennis court has been built with the spectator in mind. While your guests play, you can sit on the sofa in the shade, perhaps sharing a shaken martini with neighbour Sean Connery. There’s a pool, and views of the ocean and bay from the main house. The boathouse holds indoor docking for two speedboats, and the Balinese beach house has a spa.
Who: Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, www.sirbahamas.com, tel: +1 242 362 4211
◄ 411 N. Casey Key Road, US, $19m
Where: Casey Key, Osprey, west coast of Florida, 50 miles (80km) south of Tampa.
What: An 11-bedroom gated estate containing three houses.
Why: The floodlit tennis court is centrepiece to this excellent little estate, which also has a pool and 92m (300ft) of white sandy beach. The property stretches the width of narrow Casey Key, so there’s a bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. N. Casey Key Road is a dead end, so you’re far from the curse of constant traffic. To advance your tennis further, the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy (alumni include Boris Becker and Pete Sampras) is about 20 miles (32km) away.
Who: Michael Saunders & co, www.michaelsaunders.com, tel: +1 941 955 8200