A Tennis Ace’s Idaho Getaway
Sept. 20, 2018 10:00 a.m. ET
Location: Blaine County, ID
Mats Wilander’s 81-acre estate comes with a guesthouse, pool and pond. It is asking $4.75 million —Sarah Tilton
Tennis ace Mats Wilander and his wife, Sonya, were living in Greenwich, Conn., with their four children when they decided to move to Idaho. They had visited friends near Sun Valley and decided the lifestyle was right for their young family. ‘We found this property that was just perfect for raising four young kids—no traffic, no cars but with wildlife and room to wander,’ says Mr. Wilander.
In 1997, the couple paid about $1.7 million for the 81.3-acre property south of Sun Valley in Blaine County. ‘We thought this would be a dream property for us to build our dream house,’ says Mr. Wilander, noting that the land had privacy while still being about 25 minutes from Ketchum. Mr. Wilander, age 54, was the No. 1 male tennis player in the world in 1988 and has seven Grand Slam singles titles, as well as one Grand Slam men’s doubles title at Wimbledon. Mrs. Wilander, age 56, is a community volunteer and stay-at-home mother.
The couple then spent almost two years and just under $6 million building a 10,500-square-foot mountain home as well as a guesthouse, barn and caretaker’s residence. ‘We wanted something that would look like it’s been here for a while. We always wanted stone and wood,’ says Mr. Wilander. They also put in a pool, a jacuzzi and a pond.
In the kitchen, the Wilanders chose a concrete floor and alder cabinets. There are both mahogany and stainless-steel counters. Off of the kitchen is a butler’s pantry and in the basement is a wine cellar. ‘It was a really fun process,’ says Mr. Wilander.
The main house has seven bedrooms and 8½ baths. The master suite, shown here, has a sandstone fireplace, oak floors and upholstered walls. The more than 1,000-square-foot guesthouse has two bedrooms and one bath. The caretaker’s apartment in the barn has two bedrooms and one bath.
The family is selling because their youngest child is now at college and they have decided to downsize. Mr. Wilander works as a sports commentator and analyst. He also runs a mobile-tennis clinic called Wilander on Wheels for which he lives out of a motor home while touring the country and giving lessons.
The home also has a sauna, a gym and a soundproof music studio. ‘I have been playing guitar and doing some songwriting for 25 years. If you’re going to keep that up with friends coming over, you need a soundproof room,’ he says. There is no tennis court. They wanted the property to be ‘as natural as possible once we were done developing it and a tennis court isn’t natural,’ he says.
Mr. Wilander’s favorite memories of the home include gatherings with family and friends. He is from Sweden and Mrs. Wilander is from South Africa and the house has plenty of room for visitors, he says. They can also easily host a party with 100 guests and a band.
The pool room has brown suede walls and a bar. ‘I always joke with everyone that this is the only room I had anything to do with,’ he says. The bar and the pool table were necessities, he says, adding that ‘at times’ he is good at the game.
In the winter, the pond freezes over and the family likes to ice skate and play hockey. Mr. Wilander also does cross-country skiing on the property. He says that he will miss the tranquility and that having ‘no light pollution and no noise pollution is amazing.’
The home was listed in 2012 for $6 million. It was taken off the market in 2013. At the time, Mr. Wilander says they weren’t ready to sell because they still had children at home. The property is back on the market with an asking price of $4.75 million. Darlene Young of Engel & Volkers shares the listing with Jim Figge of Sun Valley Associates.