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Beach Tennis USA
Beach tennis was formalized in 2005 in New York City by Marc Altheim. He discovered beach tennis 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 signed two television deals: one with SNY in New York City and one with the Tennis Channel. The Tennis Channel agreed to televise three major BTUSA or National Beach Tennis / Beach Paddle Ball Association tournaments. The Miami BT USA open featured 40 teams, including several formerly highly ranked pro tennis players, including Jay Berger and Pablo Arraya. In 2007, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf played the sport.
Beach tennis merges the world of beach volleyball and tennis. It is related to beach volleyball but played with a tennis ball and paddle racket. The court is a standard beach volleyball court that is 30 feet wide and 60 feet long. There is a center line that splits the court lengthwise. At the center of the court is a 5-foot-10-inch-high (1.78 m) net. A standard tennis racquet or a paddle and a slightly depressurized tennis ball (6 oz instead of 12 oz) are used.
Sanctioned Beach Tennis USA events are different depending upon the number of entrants, number of courts available and time. Typically, the preliminary rounds are round-robin, or pool-play. This means that there is a pool of four, and one would play all the other teams in the pool (three matches). The top one or two teams from each pool advance to the elimination rounds (single-elimination).
The rules are a mix of tennis and volleyball rules. Ball that hit the sand result in a point. Scoring is similar to tennis with scores of 0 - 15 - 30 - 40 and no-ad at deuce. There is only one contact per side. Balls that hit the net remain in play. At deuce, the receiving team chooses which player will receive.
In BT USA-sanctioned events, each match consists of one eight-game set. The match must be won by two games. If the match score is tied at 8–8, a 12-point tennis tiebreaker is played to determine the winner.
The BT USA 2008 tour commenced in Key Biscayne, Florida on the grounds of the Sony Ericcson Open. The 2008 season saw tournaments held nationwide, and a network of events under the BT USA banner will help foster the growth of the sport, which has increased ever since.
In 2008 the exposure to the sport of beach tennis increased, with new broadcast agreements with Fox Sports Net (FSN) in California and Florida and from coverage on TV shows like NBC's Today Show.
Beach tennis with paddle racket
In other countries beach tennis is called beach paddle ball or nation-specific names like matkot in Israel, racchettoni in Italy, and frescobol in Brazil. In Israel it has been played at least since the 1920s, and in Brazil since the Second World War. In Italy, it was first played in Romagna near Ravenna and Rimini in 1978. In 1996, it was formalized by Italian Gianni Bellettini, president of International Federation Beach Tennis-IFBT. The best players in the world are from Ravenna Italy: Alex Mingozzi and Matteo Marighella, two-time USA National Champions and four-time world champions.
On a trip to the USA by Paul Mapley in 2008, he and Marc Altheim met in a restaurant in Soho, New York, for lunch. Paul urged Marc to put together a US team and travel to Ravenna and try and win the World Championships of IFBT Beach Tennis.
Altheim was reluctant at first as he had already spent time on the development of the racquet game which he had imported from Aruba. Jim Lorenzo, Alex Querna and a bunch of young American sporting pioneers boarded a plane for Italy to have a crack at the Italian players, who were undoubtedly regarded as the world leaders in the paddle style of the sport.
Jim's party also packed their tennis rackets as they considered themselves the world champions of the "string" specialty; however they were met by a very strong opposition by some Italian players, also very proficient in the specialty. They met their match in both disciplines of the game, so like everyone else before developed respect for the Italian players and became supportive of this form of beach tennis. At this time Alex Mingozzi, Matteo Marighella, Alan Maldini and Nicola Gambi were considered top players, along with several female players led by the Meloni sisters. These players did not necessarily have a tennis background, but their skill with the paddle was second to none.
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- IFBT-International federation of beach tennis or beach paddle tennis(Italian and English languages)