Tennis in Prague

Petr Stepanek's guide to playing tennis in Prague

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.02.2006 13:50:22 (updated on 23.02.2006) Reading time: 6 minutes

Written by Petr Štěpánek
for Expats.cz

This article should help all expatriates who play tennis and who want to continue to play in Prague, as well as those people looking to learn this beautiful game. As a Czech tennis coach specializing in teaching expats since 1993, I´d like to provide you with some basic information about tennis opportunities in Prague.

Why learn or play tennis in Prague?

Tennis is very well developed in Prague. You can find good quality outdoor and indoor courts, many of which are in beautiful surroundings. Most of the outdoor courts are clay courts. Over the years, I have found out that most people used to playing on hard courts actually prefer clay the most, primarily because movement is considerably more comfortable and therefore much easier on the joints.  The price of outdoor court hire is exceptionally good value during the outdoor season and still very reasonable throughout the autumn/winter (indoor) season. 

A major advantage of learning to play or improve your tennis in Prague is the Czech Republic´s world renowned pedigree in the sportNavratilova, Lendl and Hingis all took their first tennis steps here.  Another plus factor is that prices for top quality professional coaching are really affordable.  

How to find partners for singles, doubles or just a practice session:

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Do you want to find English speaking amateur players?

expats.cz – you can try your luck and enter your request in Q & A in the Sport and fitness section
 


Courts – Střelecký ostrov

Štěpánek´s Tennis Academy – If you become a STA member, you will receive a list of English speaking players with their rating, age group, preferences (singles, doubles or just practice) enabling you to select an appropriate partner and to issue a challenge, if you so wish. Of course other club members can also challenge you, but you are under no obligation to accept any such challenge. Study the conditions of membership .

Although the club is based at Strelicky Ostrov 336, members are free to practice and play anywhere they like in Prague.  The venue is decided by mutual agreement.  Please note that membership fees do not include court fees!

International Women Association Prague  – Ladies Group – An IWAP tennis coordinator organizes doubles sessions regularly every Friday morning.

Do you want to play with a Pro?

Buying a session with a Pro carries many opportunities for player development.  You can determine whether you´d prefer to practice a particular stroke/s, drill, or play practice games.  Or, a combined approach.  An individual session can be pitched at exactly the desired level in terms of work rate and ability.  And of course, a good Pro will be able to offer excellent fault diagnosis and help players of all levels to develop their skills and derive more enjoyment from the game.  You should certainly notice the difference when you go back to play your usual opponents!

Finding and booking courts:

“Pay and play” courts

All year round (indoor)
There are several indoor air-conditioned courts where you can play the whole year round, such as: Hotel Step (carpet with granulate), Hotel Cechie (hard surface), Club Hotel Pruhonice (hard surface), and a new centre, Tenis – Luziny (carpet). Luziny has the advantage of being reached directly by metro (followed by a 3-5 minute walk) and it also offers ample car parking.  The court surface is relatively slow, the lighting is good and, very importantly, there´s lots of space around the court lines (a feature many courts elsewhere don´t have).  There´s also a nice restaurant, offering an excellent menu with a viewing facility, making it a very pleasant place to unwind and relax after your game. 

Winter season  (indoor)
Besides the above-mentioned facilities, you can also book courts in air- inflated halls. They are usually cheaper, but the quality of the playing surface is not always as good. The surface can be either hard or clay courts in these inflated halls. But clay court lovers beware it is not easy to maintain the quality of the clay under cover. The largest and best known facility for good, covered clay courts throughout the winter is Hamr.  I can recommend Hamr to those who like clay because the halls are well heated and the courts themselves are really well maintained.

If you want to find an indoor court near your home or office go to www.tenishala.cz, unfortunately in Czech language only.

Summer season (outdoor)
There are many outdoor clay courts in Prague. Again, the biggest and most popular place to pay-and-play is Hamr. You can also enjoy a meal and a drink after your game on a spacious wooden terrace in beautiful surroundings. Courts in the very heart of Prague are clay courts that can be located at Strelecky Ostrov. Another popular facility near the City center is Hotel Cechie, which also offers air-conditioned indoor courts – the perfect choice for those determined to play whatever the weather!!  Provided you are wealthy enough to pay for both outdoor and indoor reservationsyou can´t go wrong!!!

The closest courts to ISP are in Nebusice.
 
My personal preference is the beautiful setting of Strelicky Ostrov – one of the islands near the National Theatre.  The courts there offer the most shade from the sun on hot summer days as they are surrounded by tall trees, which also help to reduce the noise from the bridge and riverbanks nearby.  This is, by far, the most picturesque setting in which to play.  There is a lack of easy parking, but for those living or working in the city centre, the courts are well within a very convenient walking distance away.  All in all, it´s the perfect venue for playing in the summer.

Tennis clubs:

(Memberships with free courts are usually only for the outdoor season). There are still tennis clubs in Prague where you can become a member. The only limitation will be a language barrier (if you do not speak Czech, of course). The memberships are relatively cheap; if you play everyday you can save a lot of money. If you play only once in 14 days however, it is probably better to pay by the hour. Among the biggest clubs are I.CLTK, Sparta Praha and Slavia Praha.

You can find the nearest club if you go to www.cztenis.cz and click on „tenisove kluby“ or „teniskluby on-line“. Some club websites even have versions in English!

Finding a competent Professional Coach:

Do you or your children want to learn or improve basic fundamentals, as well as basic tactics of singles and doubles?

As a Professional Coach myself, don´t expect me to tell you too much about my competitors :).  I probably don´t need to tell you to first check out a coaches credentials: ability, experience, references etc etc as well as the duration of their sessions and of course prices.  I´d recommend taking a lesson with 3 or 4 coaches before deciding which one you relate to the most, the one most suitable for your needs.  For maximum progress initially, 3 or more lessons a week would help to eliminate old “bad” habits by replacing them with new “good” ones.  If the early lessons are too infrequent, the old “bad” habits will soon be back “at work” in your games with your friends. To learn with a Pro in the centre of Prague, see references.

Do you want your child to become a professional player or help him/her as far as possible?

Go to the club whose juniors play in the highest level team competition. My tip here is TK Neride.

How to find Fun or Official tournaments and join in:

If you are looking for competition and some fun tennis events – try a tournament (in singles and doubles) for adult amateurs with Tennis Club Prague (organized once a month.) If you or your child would like to run for points in an official ranking system, then see the date list on www.cztenis.cz (it is in Czech only) where you will find contacts for tournament organizers and find out whether they would accept your application. If you are not an EU citizen, first visit in person the Czech Tennis Association, Stvanice 38 (an island near the Hilton Hotel), Prague 7.

Watching Professional Tennis:

The biggest event in 2006 is the Czech Open for men and women, held at the I. CLTK (tennis club) – Stvanice 38 (an island near the Hilton Hotel), May 6 – 14. You can find information on other international tournaments held in Prague on the official website of the Czech Tennis Association.

I wish  all expatriates a lot of happy tennis memories and may you make many new friends on the courts of Prague.
Petr Štěpánek

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