Ex-tennis pros with 32 Grand Slam wins to offer lessons at Soneva’s Maldives resorts
Soneva is set to welcome two former Swedish tennis pros and one former Australian tennis pro to Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani during the festive season to offer guests one-on-one coaching sessions and friendly matches.
The first, Thomas Johansson, was at Soneva Fushi from October 24 to November 3, with Jonas Björkman following from December 18-27. Later in the month, Soneva Jani welcomes Todd Woodbridge from December 18-24.
Thomas Johansson’s career reached its pinnacle with an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world No. 7 singles ranking in 2002. He also won the singles Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2002 where he beat Marat Safin, and an ATP Masters Series at the 1999 Canadian Masters, and to this day he is the last man from Sweden to win a Grand Slam in singles. Thomas also won a silver medal in the men’s doubles at the 2008 Summer Olympics, with his doubles partner Simon Aspelin. After a 16-year career he retired in June of 2009 and since then he has coached the Danish former World No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, the young Croatian Borna Ćorić and Belgium’s No. 1 player, David Goffin. He is currently coaching Greece’s up and coming women’s singles player, Maria Sakkari.
Jonas Björkman was the former No. 4 ranked singles tennis in the world, winning six ATP Singles titles during his career. Jonas was also a former No. 1 ranked doubles player, winning a total of nine Grand Slams and 54 ATP doubles titles. After retiring as a professional tennis player in 2008, Jonas now coaches other skilled players. In 2015, he was the coach of the World. No. 1 player Andy Murray (July 2017), since 2016 he has been coaching World No. 5, Marin Cilic. Jonas offered tennis coaching lessons at Soneva Fushi once before in December 2017.
Todd Woodbridge is best known for his successful doubles partnerships with Mark Woodforde and later Jonas Björkman. Todd has won 16 men’s doubles Grand Slams (9 Wimbledons, 3 US Opens, 3 Australian Opens and 1 French Open) and 6 mixed doubles Grand Slams (3 US Opens, 1 French Open, 1 Wimbledon, 1 Australian Open) throughout his decorated career. He also won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics with Woodford to complete his career Golden Grand Slam. In total Todd has won 83 ATP doubles titles, reaching the World No. 1 doubles ranking in July 1992.
Their visits to Soneva’s resorts in the Maldives are part of the world-leading luxury resort operator’s Festival of Colour, a year-long campaign that celebrates Soneva’s diverse array of visiting chefs, artists, athletes, wellness practitioners and more across all of its resorts.
In February, Soneva launched its first ever year-long campaign known as the ‘Festival of Colour’ to celebrate the diverse array of guest activities and experiences on offer this year. Soneva has confirmed a huge line-up of visiting experts, including Michelin starred chefs, authors, wine producers, world champion free divers, astronomers, artists, wellness practitioners, tennis coaches and much more across all of its resorts. Soneva’s Festival of Colour runs from February 2018 to February 2019.
Soneva runs two resorts in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.
Established in 1995, Soneva Fushi is the original Soneva. The No News, No Shoes blueprint for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 65 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, hidden amongst dense foliage.
The iconic resort has bagged several international awards for eco-friendly tourism and green initiatives, including the 2017 Green Hotelier Award for the Asia Pacific region and the Sustainable Hotel Award by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) as well as a spot in the Gold List compiled by Condé Nast Traveler China as the Best Hotel in the Maldives and amongst the best resorts in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.
Opened in December 2016, Soneva Jani is Soneva’s newest property and its second resort in the Maldives.
Soneva Jani encompasses a collection of 24 overwater villas and one island villa set in a 5.6 kilometre private lagoon located in the northern Noonu atoll. The resort spans five islands surrounded by pure white beaches, covered in rich tropical vegetation, offering the ultimate in privacy and luxury.
Each of the resort’s multilevel water villas has its own private pool and a retractable roof that allows guests to sleep beneath the stars. Many villas also have slides that transport guests directly from the top level into the lagoon below. Other hotel highlights include a spa, an observatory — home to the largest telescope in the Indian Ocean — and an outdoor cinema.
Since its opening, Soneva Jani has created a lot of buzz amongst luxury travellers with its exciting features such as the retractable roofs and the water slides. It has been named the Best Over-the-Top Luxury hotel of the year by Jetsetter.com, the best new resort in the world by CNN, and the Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in South Asia and Leading Luxury Hotel/Resort in Maldives.
Main photo (from right to left): Todd Woodbridge, Thomas Johansson and Jonas Björkman.