Vinicius Font has broken new ground on the ITF Beach Tennis Tour after becoming the first non-Italian to top the men's world rankings.
The Brazilian, who is the only non-Italian man ranked in the Top 8 on the ITF Beach Tennis Tour, knocks combined world No. 1s Alessandro Calbucci and Marco Garavini off the top spot in the latest beach tennis rankings released on Monday 16 June.
“I always knew that someone [other than an Italian player] would get there but I honestly never expected it would be me,” said Font. “I’ve been practicing for it but I knew [getting to No. 1] was very hard.
“When we sat down before this year and talked goals we said it’s okay to keep the No. 2 ranking this year because it’s going to be a tough one to become No. 1, but we made it, and we made it near the beginning of the year! It’s just another dream realised and something that I didn’t expect.”
The feat caps an excellent 12 months for Font. He led Brazil to a landmark triumph over Italy at the Beach Tennis World Team Championship last year before finishing a runner-up with Guilherme Prata to Marcus Ferreira and Thales Santos at the inaugural Pan American Championships in Porto Seguro in September.
This year he partnered Italian Alex Mingozzi to two Grade 1 titles - in Balneario Camboriu, Brazil, and Fort Myers, USA – in April to further boost his surge towards the top spot.
While Font has been chasing the coat tails of former No. 1s Calbucci and Garavini for some time, he is adamant his newfound status won’t affect his relationship with the reigning world champions.
“There’s always a rivalry between us but it’s a good kind of rivalry. Beach Tennis has a different atmosphere. We are very good friends. We go out for dinners and we talk a lot. I just hope it doesn’t change just because I took their spot,” laughed Font.
“I’m just going to train a lot to keep that spot with me. It’s very hard to get there but it’s way harder to keep being No. 1. I’m going to try.”