I’ve seen some impressive beach badminton and beach volleyball set ups in the Maldives, but Dhigufaru is the first I’ve seen with equally top flight facilities (eg. fixed ribbon line markets, night lights, padded fixed poles, etc.).
Pretty much every resort will offer a table tennis table. Some even have elaborate outdoor pavilions, but I haven’t seen any ping pong area as stadium-eque Rihiveli Beach’s beach bar. They have set the table in a sunken area with a couple of rows of raked seating around the sides. Perfect for that family holiday grand championship tourney.
A more practical consideration to table tennis pavilions is chasing the darn ball. Especially in the hard surface areas where it’s extra bounciness means it just keeps bouncing and bouncing as you go chasing it. When we set up a ping-pong table in our garage we rigged up and bunch of flat boxes to provide a back-stop to either side of the table to reduce such frenetic chases (and occasional lost balls). Zitahli Kudafunafaru has provided a more sophisticated solutions with netting on either side of its top quality table. It let’s the light and air through, but keeps ping-pong balls under control.
The smaller “table” version of tennis is almost always set in covered areas and pavilions at the Maldives resorts. Usually in entertainment buildings. But Soneva Fushi has given the full first class treatment to its “ping pong” pavilion – natural construction, thatches roof, Maldivian-style lounger chairs for spectators. All set on natural soft sand which might slow your panther-like reactions, but keep the game more comfortable and more “outdoors” as you toes sink into the warm sand.
Happy St. Patricks Day. The day for celebrating all things green. So a tip of the old leprechaun's hat to Dusit Thani and their brilliant green astro-turf tennis courts. This surface combines the benefits of softer playing and less heat retention and reflection in the bright equatorial sun. A few other resorts also offer astro, but Dusit is the only one with two!
Erin go bright-green!
Most resorts have tennis courts, many will provide a player to have a match against, Reethi actually organises regular competitions, but Constance Halaveli provides a tennis referee. And a proper ref chair to sit in (see above). His name is Nilantha Kuarage (not in photo…that’s me) and he can also serve as a coach, teacher and partner too.
The courtside facilities also feature a well equipped “coach”/spectator seat with a parasol shade and cabinet for a water cooler (see below).
The US Open season with this week’s tennis additions has tipped the balance for adding a “Racquet” for racquet sports to the blog category list.
US Tennis Open finale today features two of the stars Djokovic and Nadal who seem to have no difficulty finding each other in the big tournaments in recent years.
While it’s not a problem reading by the beach or going to the gym, finding someone to play against can be a challenge for tennis fans travelling. Sure many resorts will offer resort staff to play, but if you want a full fledged tourney of competition, then you need to go to One & Only Reethi Rah. Reethi feature a weekly visitor tennis tournament…
“Every Wednesday from 4 to 6 pm our Tennis Club hosts a social tournament where guests will compete against each other in mixed teams. This social tournament is a great way to meet new people and discover our tennis facilities.”
No sign up required and complementary. Though watch out if repeat guest, who opened their tennis court, a guy named ‘Djokovic’, is on one of the teams, be warned that he’s a bit of a ringer.
The youngsters at This Wimbledon are pushing the old guard out of the way (a record number of retirements, veteran upsets in early rounds). And one resort keen to aid the youngest tennis generation is LUX Maldives with its ‘Teddy Tennis’ programme…
“Aimed at children aged three to eight, Teddy Tennis combines music, pictures and teddy bear stories to make a child’s first experience of tennis fun and rewarding…Children are introduced to the programme via the story book, ‘Danny Bear joins the Teddy Tennis Academy’, which includes stories that encourage good practices such as eating healthy foods and exercising. A host of Bear characters, such as Molly (who likes to volley) and Boris (who loves to bounce) are used to demonstrate basic tennis movements. Music is used to emphasize the rhythm of the moves. Children then copy the moves on court helped by Head Ted – the tennis coach. Teddy Tennis is a very structured programme, with three core components: Play Sessions, Activities and Music. Children are divided into two age groups: 3 to 5 1/2 (Danny Bear) and 5 ½ to 8 (Johnny Mac Bear). Teddy Tennis Play Sessions are carefully devised to take account of differences in the age, ability and experience of the children involved. Teddy Tennis Music has been specifically created to provide the right rhythm and timing to play each game or activity. Teddy Tennis Activities – over 50 in total – focus on three areas of skill development: Movement Skills, Ball Skills and Racquet Skills.”
The Grand Slam hits its apogee this week with the start of the Wimbledon Championships. In fact, the opening session had a distinctly Maldivian touch as the headline for the day was “Stunned Nadal Mauled by Shark” (reference to unseeded victor Steve Darcis’ love of fish complete with tattoos).
Distinquished by its old school grass courts, I have often wondered why a Maldives resort hasn’t added such a posh surface to its resort. But a few top seeds do have a distinctive court surface that is a step in the right direction – astro turf.
The turf has a number of advantages…
- Softer so easier on the pounding of legs.
- Cooler than asphalt or cement which absorbs and holds the tropical heat more intensely.
- Prettier with a gentle texture and colour.
The elite astro-trio astro-trio includes
- Conrad Rangali (photo above)
- Gili Lankanfushi (photo below)
- Zitahli Kudafunafaru
I had to go to a Hawkeye like line judge to figure out the winner. All are floodlit for evening playing. Gili took the first point with the pristine condition of the court which impressed me when I visited it. But Conrad Rangali came back to take the set and match by having a tennis instructor on staff (see picture at bottom) who provides lessons for less than half the price of Gili (and the instructor has to be arranged).
For complete protection from trajectory altering breezes, the indoor badminton court is the convention answer. Indoor courts are relatively rare in the Maldives, but Reethi Beach’s extensive racquet facilities includes two (2!) shiny courts with arching ceilings to accommodate the highest lob shots.