Tennis courts are sprinkled throughout the Lake Tahoe-Truckee area. Several neighborhoods have courts, as do schools. For those wanting to play where there are more amenities, the three main clubs are in Zephyr Cove (Nevada), Incline Village (Nevada) and Tahoe Donner (California).
Zephyr Cove Tennis Club and Incline Village Tennis & Pickleball Center are open to the general public for a fee. Tahoe Donner Tennis Center is for members and people who are renting a vacation home in the Truckee enclave. Reservations are recommended everywhere to ensure a court is open when you are ready to play.
Besides being able to hit with your family and friends, each facility offers an array of social events, lessons, ball machines and space to hang out.
Just remember, high-altitude tennis can be tricky for those who are not used to the thin air. Balls that would normally be in at sea level may go flying out when playing at Lake Tahoe or Truckee. Special balls are even recommended. They look and feel the same, but the core is not as dense.
Then there is the added exertion required to play at 6,200 feet or higher. This is because it often seems like it takes more breaths to fill the lungs with oxygen at this elevation.
Zephyr Cove Tennis Club
Zephyr Cove Tennis Club (ZCTC) is on the South Shore. The motto “tennis with a view” is appropriate as Lake Tahoe can be seen from most of the six lighted courts. For non-members it costs $10 per person for two hours of play.
One of the more popular activities is Wednesday night drop-in tennis from 6 to 8 p.m. All players will be paired with a partner and then matches created by the pro. This is free for members and $10 for everyone else.
The biggest event of the year is the Hersh Herschman Memorial Tahoe Classic, from July 21 to 24. More than 200 players from nearly a dozen states compete in 15 categories – all doubles. 2022 marks the 38th year for the event. The tournament is the major fundraiser for the Zephyr Cove Tennis Club Foundation, which manages the courts and hosts the tourney.
One thing that makes this club special is that it is run by the members as a concession for Douglas County, which owns the courts. This means actual tennis players are making the rules, creating the fun and greeting you when you arrive.
“We are growing a community that welcomes all levels from beginners to advanced players,” says Carolyn Wright, president of the nonprofit foundation.
On top of that, the club has a vibrant program for kids.
Visitors and locals are welcome at the eight courts at Incline Village Tennis & Pickleball Center. Photo by Kathryn Reed
Incline Village Tennis & Pickleball Center
Those who play tennis call it a lifetime sport because you can play it essentially forever. At the Incline Village Tennis & Pickleball Center, they reward the older players – 80 and up – with free tennis. For everyone else, prices vary based on membership, time of day and age. Adult non-members can expect daily fees to be $18.
Courts may be available if you drop-in, but it’s best to call ahead of time to make a reservation. Two of Incline’s eight courts are lighted, making it possible to play into the night. With five teaching pros on staff, the club offers private, semi-private, group and clinics on a daily basis.
The club’s address is 893 Southwood Boulevard, Incline Village. The phone number is (775) 832.1235. For more information, go online.
Players take to the tennis courts at Tahoe Donner in Truckee. Photo by Kathryn Reed
Tahoe Donner Tennis Center
Tennis became so popular at Tahoe Donner during the height of the pandemic that the club has decided not to resume its tournaments that were open to the public. This means more court time for members and their guests.
“We have one of the busiest clubs in the Tahoe-Reno area. We have a pretty robust schedule,” says Ian Mindell, the club’s pro.
Tahoe Donner has 11 courts that are open to residents of the housing development, their guests and people who are spending their vacation there.
Top photo: Renith R, Unsplash