In fact, in the years before Felix de Los Santos became the tennis director, the sport was not nearly as well received on the island. Felix remembers 2001 when he first became the director as a dire time for the sport. He described the scene at PUNTACANA as consisting of little more than four tennis courts, painted red and blue, and they were not a very big draw at the hotel. The ball boy situation was similarly dire at the time, and the few ball boys in the program were not trained properly.
De Los Santos had a lot of work ahead of him, but it came almost effortlessly and he was quickly putting on world-class tennis events. It all started with the first annual Oscar de la Renta tennis tournament, which notably included Ana Wintour as a guest. (Much to de Los Santos’ regret, however, he was never quite able to convince Ms. Wintour to pick up a racquet and play in the tournament.) Throughout the years, numerous celebrities have been spectators at the event, and we suspect that 2014 will be no different.
After all, 2014 is a very exciting year for tennis in Punta Cana. The 13th annual Oscar de la Renta Social Tennis Tournament will take place later this month from December 28-30. The event will kick off with mixed doubles on the morning of the 28th and include a mid day interlude for juniors tennis. The 29th will be the day that Victor Estrella #65 best Tennis Player in the World will play Jose Hernandez #250, as well as feature men’s and women’s singles matches starting in the morning and ending with the finals that night. And, of course, the 30th will be all doubles all day.
The second big event we are all looking forward to is the opening of our brand new tennis center. Due to the explosion in popularity of tennis in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, it was time to make some changes to our facilities. The new tennis center, which will be located in the Hacienda, and will eventually feature 13 tennis courts, a huge improvement from only four courts in 2001! We will have eight well-lit clay courts, a full gym, a pro shop, and a terrace with snacks and drinks. The center will be available to all hotel guests and residents of The Estates at PUNTACANA.