Bordighera is a cute town on the Italian Riviera after Ventimiglia on the way to San Remo. It is a delightful place, quite (relatively) subdued and relaxing even during the summer months.

As with the French Riviera, the history of Bordighera and its growth began in the late 1800s with the arrival of Northern Europeans, especially the British, wishing to enjoy the warmer climes of the Riviera.

Tennis began in Bordighera with a club being established second only to Wimbledon. The same club is still in operation today. The origins of the club were to pursue international competitions, which they did, and also provide a very social aspect to allow people to mix and mingle for pleasure and business purposes.

Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club, 1904

Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club, 1904

The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne was a significant figure in the development of the tennis club at Bordighera. Notably he is the great grandfather to the King Charles III of Great Britain. His brother was a tennis player who won the 1887 Wimbledon doubles. Tennis was definitely a family thing.

Then there is the true story of a young French tennis player who astounded club members at winning against more mature players as she couldn’t speak English. There are many more fascinating historical in and around the club.

Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club, 1904

Presidents of Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club

My source is Gisella Merello. Giselle is not British, she is delightfully Italian, having been born in Bordighera to where she returned after her studies in Milan. Her fascination with the tennis club came from being given two old ledgers recording the club’s history. After delving into the history of the club Gisella’s curiosity was sparked, she continued to research it, as she does now. This is accompanied by her interest in the history of Bordighera as a whole with its wealth of connections such as the Museo Bicknell, a hangover from Bordighera’s British past.

Here are some links to Bordighera and sites relating to this lovely Riviera town –

Tennis in Bordighera

Gisella’s book about tennis in Bordighera can be found on Amazon – English version | Italian version

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All images courtesy Gisella Merello & Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club

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