Above: Clay court, Rancho Valencia, Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Valencia is well known for its tennis club, and as an avid player, I wanted to experience it for myself. There are 14 Plexipave and two European clay courts (along with four pickleball courts) and 10 busy pros. I booked what turned out to be the best — and longest — private lesson I’ve ever had. The clinic I’d signed up for had no other people in it, so I got an hour and a half with the tennis director all to myself. Working with Eduardo Sanchez was a pure delight. He’s been atRancho Valenciafor 32 years, since the club opened, and it was easy to see why: His enthusiasm for the game is contagious. I was motivated to play better just by seeing him lift his fist and then bellow “Yes!” when I hit a good shot.

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Above: Clay court, Rancho Valencia, Rancho Santa Fe

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