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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 5 years ago

A party on the tennis court

Cardio Tennis is a high intensity fitness regimen centered around social interaction.
by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

By the Numbers 

30 — Countries that currently offer Cardio Tennis programs. 

1.7 — People, in millions, who participate in Cardio Tennis programs in the United States. 

80 — Percentage of the 1.7 million Cardio Tennis participants who are tennis players. 

60 — Length in minutes of a single Cardio Tennis class.

500 to 600 — Calories players typically burn during a single Cardio Tennis session. 


SARASOTA — Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club residents David and Denise Wilson are on opposite ends of the tennis spectrum. 

Denise Wilson plays in a ladies league and tries to get out on the court at least five days a week, while her husband is more of a casual tennis player. The two occasionally play doubles together, but each has taken their own approach to tennis. 

Although while the Wilsons may not agree on how much time to dedicate to the sport, there’s one element of tennis the two can’t seem to get enough of: Cardio Tennis. 

The Wilsons started playing Cardio Tennis last October, after Stoneybrook tennis professional Andrew Sirota introduced the fitness regimen and started offering Cardio Tennis classes three days a week. 

So what is Cardio Tennis? Simply put — it’s a party on the tennis court.

Cardio Tennis is a fitness regimen designed to provide players with a high intensity workout while allowing them to socialize and enjoy the game of tennis at the same time. 

“I love cardio period and it also incorporates tennis, which I really love,” Denise Wilson said. “I’m sort of addicted to it. I guess there are worse things that I could be addicted to. I just love it.” 

Cardio Tennis classes typically involve six to 10 players and are limited to 60-minute sessions. Over the course of an hour, with music reverberating across the court, participants will complete a warm-up, a series of drills, several fast-paced games and a cool down.

During a single Cardio Tennis session, players are continually on the move. Through the use of heart rate monitors, players can track their results in real time to make sure they are getting the most out of the experience. 

“It’s a social party atmosphere on the court, and yet people are still getting a workout,” Sirota said. “You’ll burn 500 to 600 calories in an hour, and you don’t even know it.”

Cardio Tennis is unique in that is uses special cardio balls, which are less compressed than standard yellow tennis balls. The result: The balls move across the court at a slower rate, making them easier to hit and, in turn, allowing them to stay in play longer. 

Designed for players of all ages and skill levels, Cardio Tennis sessions can be modified based on each participants fitness zone. 

“You don’t have to be the greatest tennis player or the best athlete in the world,” Sirota said.

Every workout offers to same series of components, but with several hundred activities available within each drill or game segment, it’s rare for two workouts to ever be the same. 

“I like the combination of running around and tennis skills,” David Wilson said. “Having Andrew (Sirota) at this community is important. This is not a huge tennis community, but he’s engaging with the activities and tries to make it fun as much as possible.” 

Denise Wilson agreed. 

“It’s an hour, but before you know it, it’s over,” Denise Wilson said. “It’s really good exercise. If you’re looking to have a ton of fun, this is definitely the place to come.” 

Cardio Tennis was created by the Tennis Industry Association after industry professionals noticed a steady decline in participation in traditional sports, as people became more involved in fitness activities. 

Looking to bring more attention to tennis, professionals decided to branch the two together. The program launched in 2005, and since then it has expanded 30 countries with roughly 1.7 million people participating in Cardio Tennis in the United States alone. 

Sirota, who is one of only 30 certified Cardio Tennis trainers in the United States, first got involved with Cardio Tennis in 2011 after meeting University Park resident Michele Krause, the Global Education Director for Cardio Tennis. 

Then 40 pounds heavier, Sirota, who has been teaching tennis for 20 years, thought it would be the perfect way to promote healthier living while incorporating tennis at the same time. 

“I fell in love with the sport,” Sirota said. “I don’t like going to the gym, but I love tennis. Cardio Tennis allows me to do all of my cardio fitness on the court.” 

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected]

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