Barcelona and Tennis
For Adriana Isaza, the marriage of tennis and Latin culture was a natural fit. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Adriana hit the tennis circuit at a very young age: by 16, she was the Colombian National Tennis Champion and her reign lasted for 4 years. She was an NCAA All American, and a Silver Medalist at the Pan American Games in 1987. Adriana brought her love of tennis and Latin culture to the New York metro area, where she has been coaching tennis and teaching Spanish for over 15 years. In 2014, she founded Elite Tennis and Travel (www.elitetennistravel.com) to share her dual passions with other tennis and culture enthusiasts.
Last spring, Adriana teamed up with Wendy Gardiner, Director of Tennis at Chelsea Piers in CT, to customize the trip of a lifetime for Wendy’s most adventurous players. Nine intrepid tennis fans traveled to Spain, to enjoy the Barcelona Open and to experience the many wonders of Barcelona off the court – including personal tours of Gaudi’s iconic architectural masterpieces, exclusive shopping, wine tasting and touring the gorgeous Catalonian countryside.
The linchpin of the trip, of course, was the 3 days of tennis at the historic Real Club de Tenis Barcelona. Says Adriana, “what I like about the Torneo Godo [Barcelona Open] is that it’s a small and intimate venue. We were able to see world-class tennis from literally an arm’s distance. It’s impossible to get near the players at the bigger Grand Slam venues, but in Barcelona we were just a few feet away from Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, and the Bryan brothers. We even managed to snap a few selfies because we were so close!”
The avid doubles players in Wendy’s group studied the Bryan brothers intently and – with some cues from Adriana – picked up a few tips about doubles play. In larger venues, Adriana has introduced ‘virtual coaching’, in which she creates a Twitter feed to privately commentate the match, play by play, for her guests. “I love it when I can personalize the match for my group. For example, if I know that someone has a problem or question about their lob, I’ll make sure to point out good examples during the match. I think it helps them to build confidence and play better, when they see a professional employing strategies that they too are working on.”
According to Wendy – whose wild popularity is largely due to the many thoughtful and creative events she prepares for her club members, “It was hands down the most fabulous trip! We were able to adjust the agenda on the, according to the desires of the group and the weather. Everyone on the trip has committed to going again next year, which speaks volumes, especially since the destination isn’t even finalized yet.”
But Adriana is, in fact, already preparing for the 2019 ATP Tour season: she’s already got trips locked in for both the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (April 2019) and the Italian Open (May 2019).