Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa Director of Tennis Alberto Fernandez wants to show you some love. On the courts, that is. The seasoned, Cuban-born pro—who trained as an EMT at 18, and went on to serve as Officer in Charge for the Miami Dade Fire Department—began his tennis career in his adopted city, working with underprivileged children, players in wheelchairs, and high performance juniors destined for scholarships in the sport. He joined the Cliff Drysdale Tennis team at the famed Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in 2011. His affiliation with that company recently brought him to his current position at Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage. Hospitality has become his forte.
“I’ve met wonderful people here at Omni Rancho Las Palmas, and these are friendships that I’ll take with me everywhere,” says the 26-year-old. “I can be the difference between someone having a regular day or a wonderful day. I do my best to put a smile on everyone’s face, whether they’re tennis players or not.” Alberto holds fast to the philosophy that tennis is a sport one can practice for a lifetime. “I love being able to introduce that to everyone, whether they are three years old or 90.”
I first met Alberto when I participated in one of two clinics he offers at the resort. Held daily from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., each is $30. One focuses on instruction, the other on point play and strategy. Private lessons with the handsome master or one of his colleagues are $85 per hour. Alberto’s Tennis Camp ($110) is a three-hour, same-day program that consists of two hours of clinic and one hour of private instruction.
Your schedule doesn’t permit the daytime lobbing of balls? How about Tennis After Dark? A one-hour clinic is $20 (with the prize being a complimentary glass of wine). Tuesday is men’s night; Thursday is reserved for women.
Alberto is also a big proponent of his Cardio Tennis, held Saturday mornings from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. “It’s a great way for players to enjoy the game,” says the master. “In about an hour, you can get an amazing workout, socialize, and enjoy tennis—all at once.” And isn’t is good to know that this former paramedic can attend to any emergency, big or small, should something happen while you’re on the court? Just kidding, kind of. Love, indeed! www.rancholaspalmas.com