Beach tennis is played in over 50 countries and by more than half a million people, with its greatest popularity occurring in Italy, Brazil and Spain. Beach tennis offers a highly aerobic cardio workout with low impact to the knees and joints because it is played on sand.
The sport preserves most of the rules and scoring of traditional tennis, though modifications have been made to adapt to movement around the sand court and to the faster pace of the game. As the ball may not touch the ground, the game is played entirely with volleys, which makes for a quicker game than does traditional tennis. Points start with a serve and end when the ball touches the ground, forcing players to dive to reach difficult plays in a similar manner used by volleyball players. The objective is to return the ball with only one hit so that it reaches the opposing side of the net.
A depressurized tennis ball, which travels more slowly through the air than does a regulation tennis ball, is used for beach tennis to allow for longer rallies. The sport is usually played by two-person teams on a regulation beach-volleyball court with a 5-foot-7-inch-high net.
Beach tennis emerged in Italy in the early 1970s when tennis players on vacation in Lido degli Estensi (in the Ferrara town of Comacchio) played using their rackets and the existing volleyball nets already installed on the beach. The game was played for the first time with its current set of rules in Torredembarra, Spain in 1976. The first championship was played in Torredembarra in 1978. Since then (with few interruptions), it takes place on the same beach every year. Over the years, the sport spread to the beaches along the coast of Italy, and it is estimated that there are now more than 1,600 beach-tennis nets along the Italian coast in addition to a growing number of inland and indoor courts. There are an estimated 250,000 Italian beach tennis players.
The spread of beach tennis
Beach tennis arrived on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro around 2008, and the sport now dominates about one-third of the beach-volleyball courts along the Brazilian coast, and there are more than 50,000 beach tennis players in Brazil. Most Brazilian tennis clubs have converted, or are converting, at least one traditional tennis court into a few beach-tennis courts.
Though originally played only on beaches, beach tennis is now played at tennis clubs, indoor beach tennis/volleyball warehouses, country clubs, resorts, gyms and sand arenas.
Some believe that the sport is entering its golden age following its recognition by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 2010. The ITF now manages the most well-known and reputable international ranking of beach-tennis players. The ITF is allocating resources to the development of the sport and has set up exposition sand courts at professional tennis tournaments such as the Japan Open, Roland-Garros, the Australian Open and the US Open.
The ITF also supports beach tennis by sanctioning tournaments. In 2013, the ITF began to organize regional and world championships. By 2015, 89 official sanctioned tournaments were held worldwide annually, and thousands more unofficial tournaments are held around the world each year. In 2015 the Pan-American games were held in Santos, São Paulo, Brazil, with participants from 16 countries. Also in 2015, a team championship tournament was held in Moscow with participants from 28 countries, with adult, junior, male and female teams
Beach tennis in the United States
Beach tennis was formalized in the United States in 2005 by Marc Altheim, who discovered the sport on a trip to Aruba in 2003. The sport had been played there since 2000, having been introduced by a Dutchman. As of 2007, beach tennis had made progress toward acceptance as a mainstream sport, with an official standards organization known as Beach Tennis USA (BT USA). In 2007, BT USA reached television deals with the Tennis Channel and SNY, but the organization is no longer active. The Beach Tennis Association currently maintains player rankings and operates tournaments in Southern California.
ITF Beach Tennis World Cup
|Year[a]||Country||Champion||Country||Runner-up||Score in the final[b]|
|2009||ITA/ ITA||Riccardo De Filippi/Marco Ludovici||ITA/ ITA||Luca Meliconi †/Paolo Tazzari †||6–2, 6–2|
|2010||ITA/ ITA||Alan Maldini/Luca Meliconi||ITA/ ITA||Massimiliano Corzani/Luigi Mazzarone||6–4, 6–2|
|2011||ITA/ ITA||Alessandro Petrucci(2)/Luca Meliconi(2)||ITA/ ITA||Marco Ludovici/Gullio Petrucci||6–2, 6–1|
|2012||ITA/ ITA||Marco Garavini/Paolo Tazzari(3)||ITA/ ITA||Alessandro Calbucci/Luca Meliconi||6–2, 7-6(4)[c]|
|2013||ITA/ ITA||Alessandro Calbucci/Marco Garavini||ITA/ ITA||Michele Cappelletti/Luca Carli||7-6(7), 6-0|
|2014||ITA/ ITA||Alessandro Calbucci/Marco Garavini||ITA/ ITA||Luca Cramarossa/Luca Meliconi||7-5, 6-2|
|2015||No results||Pending Results|
|2016||ITA/ ITA||Michele Cappelletti/Luca Carli||ITA/ ITA||Davide Benussi/Alessia Chiodoni||6-3, 6-1|
|Year[a]||Country||Champion[d]||Country||Runner-up||Score in the final[b]|
|2009||ITA/ ITA||Simona Briganti/Rosa Sefanelli †||ITA/ ITA||Franca Bruschi(2)/Laura Oliveri||1–6, 7-5, 6–2|
|2010||ITA/ ITA||Simona Briganti/Laura Oliveri †||RUS/ RUS||Ekaterina Dranets/Gulnara Fattakhetdinova||6–1, 6–1|
|2011||ITA/ ITA||Simona Briganti/Laura Oliveri †||BLR/ BLR||Olga Barabanschikova/Natasha Zverva||6–0, 6–1|
|2012||ITA/ ITA||Simona Briganti/Laura Oliveri||ITA/ ITA||Frederica Bacchetta/Glulia Spazzoli||6-4, 4-6, 6-4|
|2013||ITA/ ITA||Sofia Cimatti/Veronica Visani||ITA/ ITA||Giorgia Gadoni/Camilla Ponti||7-6(2), 7-6(4)|
|2013||ITA/ ITA||Federica Bacchatta/Sofia Cimatti||ITA/ ITA||Martina Corbara/Camilla Ponti||7-5, 4-6, 6-1|
|2015||No results||Pending Results|
|2016||BRA/ BRA||Joana Cortez/Rafaella Miller||ITA/ ITA||Eva D'ella/Giulia Gasparri||2-6, 6-2, 6-3|
- Each year is linked to an article about that particular year's draw.
- The dash means that the result or score is unknown because there are no available sources for this information.
† indicates #1 ranking.
- Set score in parentheses indicates a tiebreaker score.
- number in  indicates ranking.
- ""ITF:A guide to Beach Tennis"". ITF. June 12, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
- "ITF Partners with Beach Tennis USA". RSI Magazine. Racquet Sports Industry. June 17, 2010. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- "Start a racket in the sand". The Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- "Contact". Beach Tennis Association U.S. Rankings & Tournaments. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
- IFBT-International federation of beach tennis or beach paddle tennis (Mostly in Italian)
- IFBT International Beach Tennis (Current governing body)
- ITF / A guide to beach tennis
- ITF Beach Tennis Tour
- ITF Current Rankings