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Gstaad Palace
Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks

CH-3780 Gstaad, Switzerland

By Roger Cox, Editor

Gstaad Palace, Switzerland, home of Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks
Photo: Roger Cox

For almost as long as I've written about tennis vacations, I have dreamed of taking part in one of the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks at the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland. Every summer for more than 40 years, this legendary winner of 12 Grand Slam singles titles has taken up residence on the red-clay courts at this historic luxury hotel, dispensing tennis wisdom and tales from the tour to an assembled band of tennis enthusiasts from all over the world. My friend Terry Kahn wrote about it on TRO's blog pages at "Emmo and Gstaad: Living the Dream," after he and his wife Lesley Sylvester attended twice. In the late summer of 2014, I finally got to be participate myself.

It's not hard to appreciate why this was on my bucket list. Who wouldn't want to spend a week with one of the greatest tennis players ever? But there was something more: opportunities like this are becoming increasingly rare. It is unthinkable that any of this generation's crop of Grand Slam title-holders will ever devote whole weeks to teaching and entertaining hackers after they leave the tour. Once Emmo retires—and at age 79 with bad knees, he will eventually—there is no one with anything remotely like his tennis accomplishments waiting in the wings to take his place.
Emmo aside, part of the allure of these tennis weeks is their location in Europe. After an overnight flight to Geneva, I boarded a train at the airport for the scenic two-plus hour ride, first climbing above the vineyards lining Lake Geneva and then, after changing trains at Montreux, ascending into the Alps and eventually pulling into the station at Gstaad. From there, I could look up and see the turreted Gstaad Palace perched on a hillside above, my home for the next week.
One of the Leading Hotels of the World, the 150-room Gstaad Palace manages to be at once elegant and unpretentious. It dates to 1913 but more importantly it has been managed since 1938 (and owned since 1947) by the Scherz family. The service is unfailingly gracious and professional, from the bellman who picks you up at the train station, to the butler on your hotel floor and the waiters in the dining room. Recent renovations have kept the rooms—each seemingly a little different—thoroughly up to date. And the creature comforts continue with an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, spa, fitness center, and array of upscale shops.
Emerson's weeklong program, which runs five hours a day in a setting at 3,000 feet, may seem more rigorous than you'd expect to find at a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. Yet he has developed an extraordinarily loyal international following, some of whom come if not every year then every few years. The appeal may begin on the courts; however, because the campers, Emerson, his wife Joy, and several of the pros have many of their meals together (most dining is included in the package price), a genuine camaraderie develops, spurred on by the Emersons' wealth of stories (they met when, according to Roy, he ball-boyed for one of her matches and was smitten) from the days when Aussie players were legendary for their work ethic, rigorous training, and booze-fueled partying, though Emerson himself no longer drinks.

Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks, Gstaad, Switzerland

Camps sizes vary from 15 to 40 (he has access to other courts in town if necessary). Divided into groups of three or four by level, we spent every morning and afternoon working on technique, doing drills, and playing doubles with members of his accomplished staff, among them his son Antony, a former ATP tour player and All-American from USC, and former Indian Davis Cup and tour player Ramesh Krishnan. Emmo himself roamed from court to court, making sure every one of us benefited from his expertise—and cajolery. When I lost concentration in the middle of a doubles point, he was quick to poke fun, saying, "Try to do your sleeping at night."
Roughly midweek the routine is broken as everyone goes off with Emmo on a picnic at Ruedi and Helen Wehren's farm in the Alps, where everyone dines on a sumptuous lunch catered by the Palace chef Peter Wyss and supplemented by the Wehrens' raclette and Alp cheeses. And at least once during the week Emmo rounds everyone up for dinner out at a typical Swiss restaurant.
The holiday comes to an end all too quickly. The final evening, everyone gathers for a final farewell dinner, highlighted by a performance by maitre d' Gildo Bocchini, a 46-year veteran of the Palace. A gifted singer, he first belted out arias from Tosca and then joined Roy to lead us all in singing "Waltzing Matilda." A fitting end to a fabulous week.

Ratings

(124 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Instruction
4½-Ball Rating
Game Matching
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4½-Ball Rating
Cuisine
5-Ball Rating Lodging
4½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4½-Ball Rating
Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4½-Ball Rating Setting
5-Ball Rating
Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating Romance
4½-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4½-Ball Rating


Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks Ratings
( 88 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating
Instruction
4½-Ball Rating
Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating
Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating


Krinsky Package Free Ad
Tennis Resorts Online has secured a discount of $250* off residential and $100 off day-camp* bookings on any tennis camp you book at the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis. To get it, email imagine@jkcp.com or apply online at http://www.jkcp.com/interest/tennis/ and use one of these codes: for Residential camps, TRORES2016, and for day camps, TRODAY2016.

For more information, visit www.jkcp.com/tennis or call 610-245-9401.
*Note: May not be combined with other discounts. www.jkcp.com/tennis

Topnotch 250x250-2014


Ratings

(124 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Instruction
4½-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4½-Ball Rating Lodging
4½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4½-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Game Matching
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
5-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4½-Ball Rating Setting
5-Ball Rating Romance
4½-Ball Rating


Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks Ratings
( 88 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Instruction
4½-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating


Krinsky Package Free Ad
Tennis Resorts Online has secured a discount of $250* off residential and $100 off day-camp* bookings on any tennis camp you book at the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis. To get it, email imagine@jkcp.com or apply online at http://www.jkcp.com/interest/tennis/ and use one of these codes: for Residential camps, TRORES2016, and for day camps, TRODAY2016.

For more information, visit www.jkcp.com/tennis or call 610-245-9401.
*Note: May not be combined with other discounts. www.jkcp.com/tennis

Topnotch 250x250-2014


See Also

If looking for other luxury resorts with programs by a former touring pro, check out:

Also look for special programs at:

Rates and Reservations

The prices for the Emerson weeks include lodging for six nights, instruction, all meals, one massage, use of the swimming pool and gymnasium, and taxes. For information and reservations, email Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks.

Emerson Weeks: June 19-25, 2016
From CHF 3,900; non-participant in same room, CHF 3,100

Emerson Weeks: June 26-July 2, 2016
From CHF 3,900; non-participant in same room, CHF 3,100

Emerson Weeks: July 3-9 and 10-16, 2016
From CHF 3,900; non-participant in same room, CHF 3,100

Emerson Weeks: Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2016
From CHF 3,900; non-participant in same room, CHF 3,100

Emerson Weeks: Sept. 4-10, 2016
From CHF 3,900; non-participant in same room, CHF 3,100

Gstaad Palace
CH-3780 Gstaad, Switzerland
+41 (0)33 748 50 00
Web Link: Gstaad Palace/Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks


Travel Essentials

Seasons. June-September.

General Tourist Information. For general information about travel to Switzerland, check out the Swiss National Tourist Office website.

©2016 Roger Cox


Krinsky Package Free Ad
Tennis Resorts Online has secured a discount of $250* off residential and $100 off day-camp* bookings on any tennis camp you book at the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis. To get it, email imagine@jkcp.com or apply online at http://www.jkcp.com/interest/tennis/ and use one of these codes: for Residential camps, TRORES2016, and for day camps, TRODAY2016.

For more information, visit www.jkcp.com/tennis or call 610-245-9401.
*Note: May not be combined with other discounts. www.jkcp.com/tennis

Topnotch 250x250-2014


Ratings

(124 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Instruction
4½-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4½-Ball Rating Lodging
4½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4½-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Game Matching
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
5-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4½-Ball Rating Setting
5-Ball Rating Romance
4½-Ball Rating


Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks Ratings
( 88 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Instruction
4½-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating

©2016 Roger Cox