Beach Tennis Championships Held In Long Beach

Columbia VS. Italy
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Columbian and Italian players compete in an August 20 match

This weekend, Long Islanders had the rare chance to watch professional, paddle-bearing athletes vie for the title of “International Beach Tennis Champion” on the sands of Long Beach.

I know what you’re thinking: Beach Tennis? Beach tennis is a combination of beach volleyball and tennis and is fairly new to the United States.

“Beach tennis combines the excitement and athleticism of tennis and beach volleyball into one fast-paced game,” stated a rep for Beach Tennis USA.

The sport first got its start on the beautiful beaches of Europe and South America and as many sports do, eventually caught on Stateside. It was introduced to the U.S. in 2005 and has since become a popular sport.

“If you’re an athlete, it’s the perfect sport,” said the Founder and Commissioner of Beach Tennis USA, Marc Altheim. “It has a bright future here and the main reason is that it’s easy and everyone can play it, yet it’s still very competitive.”

Beach tennis has picked up quite the following in recent years. At the moment BTUSA, who first launched the pro sport of beach tennis in North America, is in its sixth season and supports six leagues nationally with a total of 10,000 players. This past week, BTUSA provided the ultimate event for Long Island when they teamed up with the International Tennis Federation for the 2011 International Beach Tennis Championships.  It was the third major tournament of the Beach Tennis USA segment of the ITF World Tour, which consists of tournaments across the globe.

From August 18 to August 21, matches took place on sand courts in front of the posh Allegria Hotel in Long Beach with over 100 professional players from 12 countries.

“It’s been a great event. The quality of play has been tremendous,” said Altheim. “We had 80 percent of the best players in the world.”

The tournament included Men’s and Women’s Pro, Amateur and Junior matches as well as a Nation’s Cup tournament that featured international teams from Italy, France, Réunion, Aruba, Bermuda, the Czech Republic, and Brazil, all of whom competed in a Davis Cup-styled tournament.

One of the players, Alex Mingozzi, 30, hails from Italy and has been ranked #1 for the past four years. Mingozzi said he’s been playing beach tennis since he was 13 and that the sport “is very popular in Italy.”

“Every kid plays it because it’s a free and simple game,” Mingozzi said of the sport.

Mingozzi took to the sand for the championship match Monday afternoon (Sunday’s matches were postponed due to inclimate weather). He told the Press, “I’m excited to be here on Long Island,” and said of Monday’s match, “I hope to win and I would like to repeat a victory here.”

Mingozzi, with the help of Matteo Marighela, took home yet another title, winning the championship match Monday while fellow Italians Simona Bonnadonna and Eva D’Elia won the women’s championships.

Spectators sat in the stands on the boardwalk and had the rare chance to watch the budding sport at its very best. They watched as the international teams did everything in their power not to let the ball get passed their paddle. One spectator, Justin Krebs, 16, of Massapequa, watched as the Italian women took on the Americans– and made it clear which team was new to the sport. As he watched the match, Krebs said, “As a tennis player, I think the game is cool, but it’s definitely harder than it looks.” His dad, Joe Krebs, 41, added, “It’s great that they brought it to Long Island. I can’t believe how big the sport is.”

As far as the sport growing on Long Island, Altheim says, “It’s natural for Long Island to gravitate to beach tennis. It’s easier to play than volleyball and it can be played on any surface.” And as far as the change of seasons, he say’s it’s no problem, “It was born on the sand but can be transfered to many surfaces. Some people play it in the grass, some people even play it on the snow.”

Here are the final results:


Quarter Finals:

Matteo Marighella and Alex Mingozzi def. Stephen Sayoc and Daniel Fink.

Paolo Tazzari and Marco Garavini def. Massimo Mattei and Marty Salokas

Alessandro Calbucci and Nicolo Strano def. Bertrand Coulet and Jochem Ros.

Guilherme Prata and Vinicius Font def.Alan Maldini and Paolo Tronci

Semi Finals:

Marighella and Mingozzi def. Tazzari and Garavini.

Calbucci and Strano def. Prata and Font.


Marighella and Mingozzi def. Calbucci and Strano


Quarter Finals:

Laura Olivieri and Simona Briganti def. Silvia Zanuttini and Alessandra Zavalloni

Nadia Johnston and Nicole Mech def. Ludivine Bodar and Oiane Boutens

Paula Cortez and Flavia Muniz def. Luoni and Maria Luisa Frassca.

Simona Bonadonna and Eva D’Elia def. Marilou Lekanne and Margot Van Doorn

Semi Finals:

Olivieri and Briganti def. Johnston and Melch.

Bonadonna and D’Elia def. Cortez and Muniz.


Bonadonna and D’Elia def. Olivieri and Briganti.