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.
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
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:
from the US State Department for furthering international
relations through sports education (1965)
Educational Merit Award from the International Hall
of Fame (1969)
of both Margaret Court and Billie Jean King for the
Battle of the Sexes against Bobby Riggs
and President of Van Der Meer TennisUniversity (1973)
Founder/ President Emeritus of PTR (Professional Tennis
Member PTRF (PTR Foundation) (1978)
on many covers of Tennis Magazine
editor for numerous world wide publications
by the US Olympic committee as the Developmental
Coach of the Year (1997)
Service to the Game Award (1999)
into the following USTA Hall of Fames- S.Carolina,
Southern, N. California
doctorate from the University of Greenwich, England
for his contributions to sports science tennis education
FACULTY EMERITUS for the Tennis Teachers Conference,
which he headlined since its inception in 1973 (2005)
Inductee into the TIA Hall of Fame (2008)
"VDM was a great experience. The staff's
great and the tennis center was of very high standard."