Chatting with tennis coach Ariel Nastasia, who lives in Deià, I discovered that 100 people out of the village’s 850 residents from children upwards are involved with Deià Tennis Club. This struck me as a pretty impressive figure. After experiencing Ariel’s enthusiasm and love for the sport, I’m sure he’s contributing enormously to the popularity of tennis in the village.
Ariel is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He’s been playing tennis since he was five years old and has been a tennis coach for more than 15 years. In that time, Many highly experienced coaches have shared their training methods with him.
Ten years ago, aged 21, he came to Mallorca and he’s been here ever since. He’s worked in professional academies, coached in hotels and played with champions. Today, he lives in Deià with his partner, a Czech professional photographer.
‘There’s something magical about Deià’ he told me, ‘Words can’t explain it. From the moment I first saw the village, I wanted to play tennis here. Five years later my dream came true.’
Ariel has been coaching tennis in Deià for the past three years. The public tennis court in Deià was abandoned when he started. He asked the ajuntament — the council — to restore the court and start a Deià Tennis School. Then, as he said, ‘they opened their doors to me’.
‘Since I was young, tennis has given me many great things,’ Ariel Nastasia explained. ‘It’s given me friends, good times and, after I began to play well enough, the freedom to choose how I wanted to spend my life.’
Ariel is keen to share his love of the game with his students. On his website, he writes ‘I seek to empower my students by generating movement and fun, promoting health, physical and emotional well-being by instructing through visual learning while playing.’
To me, Ariel added, ‘I get a real kick from coaching. And people tell me they feel good on the court with me. They also tell me that they’re becoming more confident, not just playing tennis but also in their professional lives. They come to play tennis two or three times a week, want to get better at the game and apply the happiness hormone to other parts of their lives.’
Tennis in Deià is for everyone. In the tennis club, Ariel teaches children from as young as four or five years old up to 17. He also coaches adults, whether it’s beginners or people who have already been playing for a while. Every Monday, between six and seven pm, he has adult group sessions.
Deià Tennis Club also arranges tournaments — the most hotly contested being the one on 24th June, when the village celebrates the day of its patron saint.
Incidentally, the Mallorca Championships, which offer an excellent opportunity to see some of the world’s best tennis players up close, start on 24th June and continue until 1st July.
Ariel and the club are also developing the Tramuntana Tennis Tournament, when Deià will compete against other towns in our area.
At present, the club competes against towns such as Sóller four times a year. Events are held in Sóller, at the tennis and padel club. In Deià La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, generously offers its courts.
‘It’s great for us to play against different towns,’ Ariel said. ‘We have fun competing and playing on different surfaces is good experience.’
As well as building team spirit, the club also holds regular events such as barbeques that bring the community together around tennis.
For Ariel Nastasia, ‘connecting is the most important thing. Newcomers to the village, as well as people who rent homes, can meet residents who live here all year round and might have been born here. Tennis is connection.’
Find out more about what the Deià Tennis Club offers here. To book coaching with Ariel, go here.