THE HISTORY OF
VAN DER MEER TENNIS
At the age of 6, Dennis fell in love with tennis. The son of missionary parents in Namibia, he first played over a rope his mother strung up with sticks in the desert near Windhoek. After moving to Capetown, the young player got his first professional lessons, and rapidly progressed to the provincial level. He claims his background of limited equipment, no backdrops, and few tennis balls made him appreciate consistency, and gave him the ability to rally forever with one ball.
Dennis grew up before the professional tennis era, but has had a very long career as a teaching professional. His reputation grew throughout South Africa, and the outside tennis world took note of the young coach. He was invited to visit John Gardiner’s famed Tennis Ranch in Carmel Valley, where he was noticed by other top US coaches. In 1961 he emigrated to the US to become the head pro of the Berkeley Tennis Club. He coached numerous junior national and world champions, including Margaret Court and Billy Jean King. The Battle of the Sexes with Bobby Riggs started the great tennis boom of the 70’s. Dennis coached both Margaret and Billy Jean in their matches.
From California, he made his way east, purchasing property on Hilton Head Island, which he saw as the perfect place to base his operations. Since 1979, Van Der Meer Tennis has been helping players of all ages and abilities to reach their top potential. Dennis has traveled the world teaching teachers and coaching players at Grand Slams, and making a huge difference in his students’ lives.
Coach of numerous Grand Slam and National Junior Champions, Dennis Van der Meer’s teaching career has spanned more than 50 years. His many achievements include the following:
- Citation from the US State Department for furthering international relations through sports education (1965)
- Tennis Educational Merit Award from the International Hall of Fame (1969)
- Coach of both Margaret Court and Billie Jean King for the “Battle of the Sexes” against Bobby Riggs (1973)
- Founder and President of Van Der Meer TennisUniversity (1973) Founder/ President Emeritus of PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) (1976)
- Founder/Board Member PTRF (PTR Foundation) (1978)
- Featured on many covers of Tennis Magazine
- Instructional editor for numerous world wide publications
- Honored by the US Olympic committee as the “Developmental Coach of the Year” (1997)
- ITF Service to the Game Award (1999)
- Inducted into the following USTA Hall of Fames- S.Carolina, Southern, N. California
- Honorary doctorate from the University of Greenwich, England for his contributions to sports science tennis education (2004)
- Named FACULTY EMERITUS for the Tennis Teachers’ Conference, which he headlined since its inception in 1973 (2005)
- Inaugural Inductee into the TIA Hall of Fame (2008)