Marco Garavini and Paolo Tazzari
On Friday, the nations who are set to feature at the sixth annual European Beach Tennis Championships, this year taking place in Brighton on England’s south coast, were announced.
Twenty-one nations from across Europe are set to head to England to join the Great Britain team for three days of action packed beach tennis. This year marks a new record for the competition in terms of number of entrants, but all eyes will still be on the Italians, who are the defending champions in all three events (men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles) and who have proved to be the dominant force over the years.
The biggest threat to the Italians is likely to come from Russia and Spain. These two nations' players enjoyed a good run at the 2012 Championships in all events although the French, making their first appearance in two years, should not be discounted. They have a number of highly ranked players and could spring a number of surprises.
2013 welcomes two new nations to the competition as teams from Lithuania and Ukraine will be making their European Beach Tennis Championships debuts whilst of the 21 entrants, eight have been ever present at these Championships in its present format which began in 2008. They are Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, San Marino and Slovenia.
Squad nominations are due on 15 July and an announcement on these will follow shortly after.
Nations Entered - 21
Austria | Belgium | Bulgaria | Cyprus | Czech Republic | France | Germany | Great Britain | Greece | Hungary | Italy | Lithuania | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Russia | San Marino | Slovenia | Spain | Switzerland | Ukraine