Beach tennis

For another sport called "beach paddleball", see Matkot. For other sports called "paddleball", see Paddleball (sport).

Beach Tennis is a game combining elements of tennis and volleyball and played on a beach.


Beach Tennis USA

Beach tennis was formalized in 2005 in New York City by Marc Altheim.[1] He discovered beach tennis on a trip to Aruba in 2003.[1] The sport had been played in Aruba since 2000,[1] having been introduced by a Dutchman.[2] As of 2007, beach tennis has 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.[2] 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.[2]

Beach tennis merges the world of beach volleyball and tennis.

It is related to beach volleyball but played with a tennis ball and paddle or 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, there 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, one would play all the other teams in your pool (3 matches). The top 1 or 2 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.

Beach tennis was one of the attractions at the Family Circle Cup, in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 2007.[3] Beach Tennis USA organized its first professional tournament there.[3]

The BT USA 2008 tour commenced in Key Biscayne, Florida on the grounds of the Sony Ericcson Open.[4] 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.[2]

Beach tennis with paddle racquet

In other countries beach tennis is called beach paddle Ball or nation-specific names like matkot in Israel and Racchettoni in Italy. It was first played in Romagna near Ravenna and Rimini in 1978.[4] Later, in 1996, it was formalized by Italian Gianni Bellettini,[5] president of International Federation Beach Tennis-IFBT.[5] The best players in the world are from Ravenna Italy: Alex Mingozzi and Matteo Marighella, two times USA National Champions and four times world champions.[5]

It was a trip to the USA by Paul Mapley in 2008, when he and Marc Altheim got together in a restaurant in SOHO,New York for lunch, that the Americans became enlightened. Paul urged Marc to put a US Team together and travel to Ravenna and contest the World Championships of IFBT Beach Tennis. Marc was at first reluctant at first as he had already spent so much time on the development of the racquet game in the US, that he had imported from Aruba. However the rest is is history, as Jim Lorenzo, Alex Querna and a bunch of young american sporting pioneers boarded a plane for Italy to have a crack at the Italians, who were undoubtedly were the world leaders in the paddle style of the sport.

Jim's boys and girls also packed their tennis rackets as they considered themselves the world champs of the string game, however they were sadly mistaken as they met an awesome contingent of Italians, who were also most skilled at that form. They too had met their match in both disciplines of the game, but like everyone before them had a great respect for the Italians and and a great love of this form of beach tennis. In this time Alex Mingozzi, Matteo Marighella, Alan Maldini and Nicola Gambi were considered the pinnacle of the sport, along with an exciting bunch of female players who were just amazing to watch. These players did not necessarily have a tennis background, but their skill with the paddle was second to none!

There are many great stories of how the sport got it wings and the Australian story is one, with our friend Bertrand Coulet form Reunion Island inviting us to play...................more to come !

In popular culture

In the "Spring Clean" episode of Bananas In Pyjamas, the bananas played beach tennis.


  1. 1 2 3 "ITF Partners with Beach Tennis USA". RSI Magazine. Racquet Sports Industry. June 17, 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Start a racket in the sand". The Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Serve's Up!". The Long Island Herald. The Long Island Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Beach Tennis" (PDF). The Islander News. The Islander News. Archived from the original (pdf) on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 Jane Kwiatkowski (August 21, 2010). "Beach tennis, anyone?". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 13 June 2012.

External links

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