The second annual Beach Tennis World Team Championship is almost upon us and with the confirmation of entered nations coming two weeks ago, we now look at the players who will be competing at the event in Moscow.
With eight nations appearing for the first time, new faces are assured and we’ll take a look at some of those later. First of all we are happy to report that current men’s world No. 1 Alessandro Calbucci will be returning to help Italy defend the title won in 2012.
This year he will be playing alongside three new team members; Marco Garavini, Federica Bacchetta and joint women’s world No. 1 Giulia Spazzoli. Between them, the four can boast a collection of two European and four World Championships titles.
Russia, hosting for the second year and who will also be hosting the 2014 tournament, will be looking to at least emulate their semifinal showing of 2012 which ultimately saw them claiming fourth place after a thrilling contest in a positional play-off with France.
Brazil's players currently head the chasing pack behind the dominant Italian players in the women’s ranking list with three players in the Top 10, published on 17 June, and are likely to once again pose the main threat to the Italian favourites. The same can be said of the men’s rankings, where Guilherme Prata is the lone non-Italian in the Top 10 although Vinicius Font is not far behind.
The German team could also be a nation to watch for. Their squad features two men ranked in the Top 70 and, in Maraike Biglmaier, they have a player who has experience of competing on the ITF’s Junior and Pro Circuits between 2002 and 2007 and who is now an established Top 50 player on the Beach Tennis Tour.
As we mentioned, there are eight nations who will be taking to the courts in World Team Championship action for the first time. They are: Argentina, the Caribbean island of Aruba, European contingent Estonia, Great Britain (August’s European Championships host nation), Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland, and finally Japan.
The Spanish team includes a former one-time ITF Pro Circuit player in Maria-Lourdes Gaona, who competed back in March 2004, and a Top 15 ranked beach tennis player in Antonio ‘Antomi’ Ramos as they look to make an impact at the Championship.
As fellow newcomers, the British players, led by player-captain Gary Thomson, will certainly be looking to put on a good show ahead of the European Beach Tennis Championships which will be staged in Brighton on Britain’s south coast in early August. Britain will also be hosting again in 2014.
With an increase this year from 15 to 22 nations taking part, this four-day event, having been played over a three day period last year, is sure to once again prove to be one of the highlights of the beach tennis calendar with some great beach tennis talent on show as the nations do battle for the prestigious title currently, and proudly, held by Italy.
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2013 ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championship nominations
(as of 09 July 2013)
Argentina – captained by TBC
Men: TBC and TBC
Women: TBC and TBC
Aruba – captained by Maria Buuts
Men: Ricardo De Lannoy and Sergio Jie Sam Foek
Women: Maria Buuts and Betza Rasmyn
Austria – captained by Andreas Huber
Men: Stefan Weber and Martin Schmidt
Women: Marlena Metzinger and Sandra Schmidt
Belgium – captained by Flemming Pittoors
Men: Tom Beke and Joris Mees
Women: Natalie Verachtert and Astrid Dierckx
Brazil – captained by Antonio Carlos Lopes
Men: Guilherme Prata, Vinicius Font and Guilherme Lopes
Women: Joana Cortez and Samantha Barijan
Bulgaria – captained by Karina Gyurova
Men: Petar Kirilov and Rosen Nenchev
Women: Lazarina Stefanova and Katina Simeonova
Cyprus – captained by Petros Baghdatis
Men: Petros Baghdatis and Christopher Koutrouzas
Women: Marianna Tsakkistou and Andria Tsaggaridou
Estonia – captained by Margus Ungerson
Men: Ott Ahonen, Ainar Laube and Margus Ungerson
Women: Anelle Luik and Katri Miller
France – captained by TBC
Men: Patrice Bang and Pascal Herve
Women: Julie Labrit and Magali Garnier
Germany – captained by Gerd Hummel
Men: Oliver Munz and Alexander Bailer
Women: Dorothee Berreth and Maraike Biglmaier
Great Britain – captained by Gary Thomson
Men: Gary Thomson and Yiannis Toumazis
Women: Kim Roberts and Katy Shaw
Hungary – captained by Geza Kendik
Men: Attila Bozsik and Mate Kaibinger
Women: Aniko Kovacs and Monika Erdelyi
Italy – captained by Luca Bidolli
Men: Marco Garavini and Alessandro Calbucci
Women: Federica Bacchetta and Giulia Spazzoli
Japan – captained by Takaaki Sugita
Men: Susumu Kawashima and Susumu Nakajima
Women: Tomomi Takahashi and Kaori Yanase
Lithuania – captained by Luidzi Pakula
Men: Mikhail Volkovich and Artiom Ivancov
Women: Anike Balciunaite and Evelina Abaraviciute
Portugal – captained by Hugo Rola
Men: Filipe Rebelo and Pedro Correia
Women: Ana Pereira and Susana Pereira
Russia – captained by Sergey Kipzov
Men: Nikita Burmakin, Igor Panin and LEvan Nanava
Women: Irina Bulykina, Goulnara Fattakhetdinova and Natalia Timofeeva
San Marino – captained by Stefano Pazzini
Men: William Forcellini and Christian Berardi
Women: Alice Grandi and Camilla Zafferani
Spain – captained by Jose Ma Piza
Men: Antonio ‘Antomi’ Ramos and Saulo Tejada
Women: Maria-Lourdes Gaona and Wisal Mohamed
Switzerland – captained by Yves Fornasier
Men: Yves Fornasier and Kevin Fischer
Women: Laura Galli and Vera Molinari
Ukraine – captained by TBC
Men: Stanislav Agapov and Vladislav Presnyakov
Women: Iryna Matiychyk and Veronika Kompanets
Venezuela – captained by Carlos Jose Silvestre Nava
Men: Ramon Ignacio Guedez Maluff, Jorge Alejandro Panalver Urdaneta and Pedro Enrique Panalver Urdaneta
Women: Patricia Sarahi Diaz Mosquera, Lady Esther Correa Guzman and Maria Carolina Barrios Ceballos