Chile prepares for its first beach tennis tournament
With skills clinics for children and international tennis stars on hand, this weekend's tournament in Coquimbo is shaping up to be a great event – and organizers say it's just the beginning.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Beach tennis is usually played in pairs on a sand court measuring 26 x 52 feet, with a net just under six feet high.
Chile's first ever beach tennis tournament is set to take place later this week on the sands of Coquimbo in the country's north.
Lending their presence to the event will be some big names of regular tennis, including women's world number five, Joana Cortez from Brazil, and Chile's own former Davis Cup player, Hermes Gamonal.
The exciting new sport about to make its Chilean debut is an explosive mixture of tennis, beach volleyball and paddle ball.
Beach tennis is usually played in pairs on a sand court measuring 26 x 52 feet, with a net just under six feet high. Players use low pressure tennis balls paddle bats in place of conventional rackets.
The sport has already taken off in Brazil, Argentina, Italy and the United States where it is gaining a steady following.
In fact, beach tennis is now a federated sport that has its own professional circuit and international ranking system, along with its own national and international championships. The most recent world championship was held in Italy in May.
Spectators will be able to view the matches in Chile's inaugural beach tennis tournament free of charge. The official competition will be battled out on Coquimbo's Peñuelas Beach from 11am on Saturday, June 11, following a free skills clinic for children on Friday, June 10.
Albert Duarte from the firm m+e, the business behind the competition, told La Tercera that this week's tournament was just the beginning.
“This is an initiative that has a huge potential because of its easy access and range, and the kilometers of coastline throughout the Coquimbo Region and Chile,” he said. “It represents a great opportunity for the sporting and tourism development of the region.
“We are working on some complementary projects, such as beach tennis coaching schools and an official ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournament for the summer of 2012 in La Serena, Coquimbo and Viña del Mar to begin with.”