The Isla Verde Tennis Club
The Isla Verde Tennis Club, founded 30 years ago, serves the community of Isla Verde, Punta Las Marias and Ocean Park as well as visiting guests staying at the hotels and guesthouses in our area. The Club has four “Plexipave” hard courts, lighted for night play, restroom facilities, a hitting wall and fully trained tennis professionals. With clinics from the beginner to the advance player, an outstanding junior program for Pee Wee to tournament players, ball machines, lessons from our energetic USPTR pros, 24 hour stringing and our “Looking for a Game” program, we know we can provide every tennis-nut with an outstanding tennis experience.
The Isla Verde Tennis Club, a three-time USTA Outstanding Facility of the Year Recipent (1986, 1995 & 2004), proudly features:
- 4 hard courts lighted for night play
- Membership programs
- Well stocked pro shop including stringing services
- Ball Machine Rental
- Leagues, Singles Ladder, Looking for a Game Program
- Adult and After School Junior Clinics
Open 7 Days a Week
Monday - Thursday 8AM - 10PM
Friday - 8AM - 8PM
Saturday - 8AM - 6PM
Sunday - 8AM - 5PM
It takes drive and dedication as well as love of sport to create a tennis club/facility from an empty pasture in the Isla Verde area of San Juan. And those qualities abound in the persons of Lieschen Cordero, Tita Nido, Pablo Montaner and Chuck Hitt,
Lieschen Cordero & Tita Nido
Lieschen began playing tennis at the tender age of 8 years old under the tutelage of famed tennis instructor Welby Van Horn at the Caribe Hilton Tennis Club. Her accomplishments in Tennis are many: as a player she was Women’s singles champion of Puerto Rico and participated for many years in League competition. Lieschen’s contributions to the sport include participation in the board of directors of the PRTA and Director of the inaugural “Albergue Olimpico” Tennis Tournament.
In 1974 Lieschen and her husband Pablo Montañer moved to their new home in the Palmar section of Isla Verde. Close by was a piece of land with a baseball park and a basketball court. It was this facility that started her thinking about the potential of creating a Tennis Club on a parcel of empty land adjacent to the park.
Around this time Tita Nido; who as fate would have it, lived on the same street as the Montañers; became the first Director of the Puerto Rico Tennis Association (PRTA) while raising a family of tennis players (her sons Miguel and Tommy were champion players at collegiate and professional levels) and finding the time to play and captain League Tennis teams.
While enjoying a Bar-B-Q dinner one evening at Tita’s house, both women decided to join forces and do whatever it took to convince the “Powers that Be” to build a Tennis Club in the Palmar urbanization. The first step was to create and organize the “Asociación de Residentes de Isla Verde”, thus establishing an entity to deal with the various government agencies, corporate sponsors, influential people and last but not least, the Puerto Rico Tennis Association. Through tenacious grit and hard work, the permits were granted, donations were secured, funds were matched, Plans were drawn up (thank you Ken Niddrie), builders were contracted and the Isla Tennis Club became a reality, being inaugurated in 1979.
Thanks to the guidance and direction of Lieschen and Tita Nido, the club, through the years, has placed a high priority in the development of young players. “I want to give children the opportunity to develop as athletes”, says Liechen, “ that’s my primary motivation to continue as the Club’s director”. To this end the Club offers junior clinics, and summer programs that are much anticipated by the community each year.
Charles “Chuck” Hitt
Being 92 years young, Chuck is a living testament of tennis as a “Sport for a Lifetime”!
As a child Chuck learned to play tennis from his sister, Virginia. And as a junior player, competed nationally making the quarterfinals in the junior 18’s at the National Championships.
In 1949 Chuck came to Puerto Rico in the employ of Pan American Airlines. Here he met and married Milicent Hobson, started a family and of course, kept playing tennis.
In addition to helping to found the Isla Verde Tennis Club, here are just a few of his accomplishments for our sport in Puerto Rico:
Founding member of Puerto Rico’s nascent Tennis Patrons Association, dedicated to junior player development, offering classes and tennis equipment.
- Founding member of the Puerto Rico Lawn Tennis Association, and worked to establish, first a “District” status, and later a recognized “Section” of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
- Served as President of the PRLTA during the first six years and continued serving as a Director for many more years.
- Developed and built in 1965 (with his partner Art Zalduondo) the Racquet Club Hotel in Isla Verde. In its’ heyday, the Racquet Club was THE center of Puerto Rican tennis, sporting eight clay courts and hosting the Island’s top tennis events such as the Central American & Caribbean Tournament, the International Women’s Tournament and National “Senior” events as well.
- Chuck has participated in various committees of the USTA such as: president of the Budgets Committee, member of the Nominating Committee, and as a member of the Board of Directors. He also served (for seven years) as the Director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- In 1994 established the “Salón de Fama del Tenis de Puerto Rico”. (Later Chuck was enshrined as an honoree as was his daughter Wendy, a tennis champion in her own right.
- Competed in the 1999 USTA Southern Championships (80 yrs and over) winning the Singles and Doubles championships.
Get to know Chuck, a legendary tennis figure…he plays two to three times a week on our courts in Isla Verde. We are honored.
Note: Writer wishes to credit Lic. Vicente Antonetti for his contribution to this article.
Kamil was born and raised in Lebanon, where he was the Junior Champion in the 15 and 18 year old division. At the age of 19, he travelled throughout Europe, touring the continent and playing tournaments with the “Lique Cote D’Azure” team based in Monte Carlo. In 1979, while participating in the 5th Arab Olympiad held in Damascus, Syria, Kamil placed second in singles play. Soon after, Kamil became the Tennis Director at Riyadh Inter-Continental Hotel in Saudi Arabia and had the opportunity to teach members of the Royal Family.
In 1982, Kamil travelled to the U.S.A. and attended Sacramento City College, where he majored in Business Administration and held the Tennis Team number one ranking in singles and doubles. While in California, he instructed professionally at the Sunset Whitney Country Club and Southland Racquet Club in Sacramento, and private homes in the Santa Barbara area.
The next step in Kamil Assad’s career was completing the training program at the Peter Burwash International Corporate Headquarters in Woodlands, Texas. He was assigned Tennis Director at the Fijian Resort Hotel, one of the 50 facilities worldwide staffed by PBI professionals. Peter Burwash International is the largest tennis management firm in the world with professionals in over 20 countries, including Japan, Austria, China, Egypt, and Spain.
With P.B.I, Kamil became the Head Tennis Professional at Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui, Hawaii and the PBI Junior Tournament International Camp. Throughout 1986, he was the Head Tennis Pro at the Jakarta Hilton International, Indonesia. His appointment at the award winning Seabrook Island Resort in Charleston, South Carolina, followed after he was certified USPTR Professional. Kamil then moved to St. Croix, where he was the Tennis Director at the Carambola Beach Resort. When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the tennis courts at the Resort, he moved to Puerto Rico.
Kamil Assad, decided to make Puerto Rico his home. On this beautiful Island, he married his lovely wife, Molly and raised three “Borinquen” boys. For 25 exciting years, Kamil has been the Director of the Isla Verde Tennis Club teaching and making Tennis fun for everyone!
Jaime Garratón Guevara was born and grew up in Isla Verde, a practically all-year-round “country club” for land and sea sports. A total athlete in nature, Jaime excelled in tennis, volleyball, soccer, basketball, skateboarding and surfing. His tennis career began at age 7 at the Isla Verde Tennis Club with Pro Tennis Instructor Lulo Cordero.
School sports kept Jaime Garratón’s name on quite a few top coaches’ star athlete lists who voted and selected him for All Star Games many times. Winning MVPs for volleyball, soccer and basketball since fifth grade and all the way through high school. Jaime played league sports and represented our Island in Dallas, Texas, as captain for the volleyball P.R. Junior Olympics Team, and at the Nike Tournament held at Chicago, Illinois. In 1996, his team won the Bronze Medal for Puerto Rico. Also as a Boy Scout, in 1998, he earned the highest rank in Scouting, becoming an EAGLE.
Garratón continued practicing recreational tennis all the time and, while taking an elective course in tennis at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, he was asked by coach Tony Mendez to join the USC Tennis Team. He trained very hard and represented the USC in various tournaments, all the while Mendez training him also to be an instructor.
In 2001 Jaime met Kamil Assad who was Director of the Isla Verde Tennis Club. Kamil recruited Jaime to work and assist him with the Club’s Summer Camp and he continued from there, working as a tennis instructor. In 2005 Teaching Pro Fabio Vasconcellos took over the Club. Jaime was at his side working and assisting him in every way. “I truly enjoy all the extraordinary people I meet and coach every day at the Club”.
At the USC (2004), he earned a Bachelor Degree in Communications (Visual Arts and Graphic Design). As an athlete and an artist, Jaime channels his passion for life, health and beauty through TENNIS and PAINTING. He is a certified PTR Instructor and…, with Kamil’s guidance and mentoring, Jaime Garratón hopes to continue polishing his professional skills as a Tennis Pro at the greatest tennis facility on the Island - The Isla Verde Tennis Club!