EBTC V - player and flag parade
As the arrival day draws to a close at the European Beach Tennis Championships V, the draw is released and promises another exciting event as the Italian men and women have their work cut out to defend their titles.
With 19 nations represented competition is high as hosts San Marino are keen to take the title off their neighbours while the Russian team also have their sights set firmly on the prize with three seeded pairs in their team (two male and one female).
Following a strong performance in 2011 the Spanish team are also looking to cause an upset while the Cypriot’s top seeded male team includes Petros Baghdatis, brother of tennis player Marcos.
Portugal’s team features two seeds in the men’s draw while the Germans have the fourth and fifth seeded teams in the women’s draw and tenth seeds in the men’s.
Last year’s European Beach Tennis Championships hosts Bulgaria cannot be ruled out either with the eighth seeded men’s team and the sixth seeded women’s team.
The fast approaching competition was put to one side for the evening however as all teams paraded onto the court behind their national flag for the opening ceremony. Team San Marino completed the parade before the crowd were invited to stand for the host’s national anthem.
Teams and spectators were then given a warm welcome to San Marino and the EBTC by Vito Testai Director of the San Marino Tourism Office Luciano Scarponi, Member of the Board of Directors of the National Olympic Committee of San Marino and the President of the San Marino Tennis Association Christian Forcellini.
The players and crowd were then treated to a performance of artistic gymnastics before Italian tennis players Giorgio Galimberti and Igor Gaudi took on beach tennis pros Alex Mingozzi and Matteo Marighella in an exhibition match to give crowds a taster of what lies in store over the next three days.