Rupert North has been orchestrating the Mark Warner tennis programme for over 30 years and it’s his wealth of experience and passion for the sport that has made us one of the best in the business. Here we talk to him about the sessions and coaching we offer plus the world of tennis as we run up to Wimbledon.
What does Mark Warner offer those keen to play tennis on holiday?
Beginners and experts alike can not only enjoy the tennis programme we offer but feel like they have come away having improved their game. For the beginners we run the LTA’s Tennis Express programme and offer private lessons, for those a bit more confident they might choose a group course of even sign up to an Academy Course or book in for our very popular intensive tennis weeks. We also run social tennis in the evenings and once a week ‘tipsy tennis’ …. which does what it says on the tin.
Find out more about Mark Warner’s tennis holidays here >>
How did your passion for tennis begin and at what age did you start playing?
My girlfriend at the age of 3 had a tennis court at home, so I used to hit balls for hours on end. My parents were also keen recreational tennis players so they were always encouraging me.
What do you most enjoy about tennis?
Tennis can be played for fun or at a serious level. Plus the fact I met my wife while playing tennis (I need to add that in).
Can you tell us about some of your previous accomplishments within tennis?
Apart from finding my wife, I have played the qualified round of Wimbledon, and hit at some of the major clubs around the world. I also had opportunity to be the hitting partner for some very well known players including; Henri Leconte and Jimmy Connors. My claim to fame is the time I played Tim Henman at Wimbledon in an exhibition match.
How do we select our Mark Warner tennis coaches?
We test play the candidates at the famous Queens Club, London and then embark on a series of interviews. It’s not only about hitting a ball hard, we are looking for the whole package; leadership, personality, patience and skills. Being a Mark Warner coach is about being able to play with a pro one hour and then teach a 4 year old the next.
In the Mark Warner resorts, what does your private tennis lesson consist of and who are they aimed at?
A great advantage of the private lesson over the group one is that the coach can specifically tailor the guests needs and level over the 45 minutes. The guest will hit up to 5 times more tennis balls in that time and hitting with the pro one to one is a great opportunity. In term of hours for hours, minutes for minutes, the learning curve is huge.
Who is your tennis idol and why?
I actually have two; Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer. Both have won all the major grand slams and both are fabulous ambassadors of the sport and always have enough time for everyone.
Bjorn Borg won Wimbledon 7 times and the French 5 times back to back which is a huge achievement and one I don’t see being done again for the foreseeable future.
Tennis whites or tennis brights?
At Wimbledon and Queens Club you have to wear whites and I like this tradition. However I do like a mix, maybe bright shorts and a white top.
What tennis court would you most like to play on?
I love a well-groomed grass court and the best in the world are found at Wimbledon. Grass is an excellent surface for all levels, if you fall you don’t get hurt, it’s got great grip, is fast paced and if you fancy going for a dive – then do it.
Who would be your dream doubles partner?
Roger Federer, even though he is known as a singles player he is also a very proficient doubles partner. You can’t dismiss someone who has won the Davis Cup plus a gold at the Olympics.
Who is going to win Wimbledon this year?
I think Murray could do it again, or the young Austrian Dominic Thiem is my outsider tip.
What do you hope the children that are coached on holiday with us come away with?
I hope they come away with happy memories and the enthusiasm to continue to play at home.
How can people get involved in the UK?
There are 5 main ways to get involved back in the UK all of which British Tennis have worked hard to put in place. You can simply visit their website and type in your postcode to find a court , get involved with Tennis Tuesdays , Advantage and the Great British Tennis Weekends or simply head down to your local club.