04 Sep 2017

European Championships set to celebrate 10 years

News Article

Photo: Nikita UspenskiyLuca Cramarossa and Marco Garavini (ITA)

The European Beach Tennis Championships will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the 2017 edition of the event in Sozopol, Bulgaria on 8-10 September.

Due to take place in Sozopol for the second straight year this year, the flagship European contest has graced eight different venues across six countries since the inaugural event was held in Rome in 2008.

Reigning women’s champion Flamina Daina, who won the title alongside Sofia Cimatti at Sozopol’s first staging of the event in 2016 and also won the title when the event was held in Brighton in 2013, admitted that reaching 10 years is a landmark moment for the event.

“I'm delighted to take part in the European Championship this year,” she said. “To be approaching 10 years of the event is amazing - it shows how beach tennis has grown and is growing at the same time. I remember my first European Championship, the many higher steps that have been reached since, and for sure our main goal is to give more value to our amazing sport.”

Luca Cramarossa, who also has fond memories of Sozopol having won the European title for the first time in 2016 alongside Marco Garavini, echoed Daina’s excitement at the prospect of returning to Bulgaria for the 10th anniversary event.

“Sozopol was a real surprise last year, I did not expect to find such a beautiful sea and such an organized village,” he admitted. “It is always very exciting to play at the European Championships and to represent my nation.”

For some, like Italy’s Federica Bacchetta, the tournament has thrown up career-defining success. In 2015, when the event was held in Eilat, Israel, Bachetta had the chance to complete her set of victories in each of the sport’s major tournaments and add to her previous wins in the World Championships and World Team Championships.  

Six games into the final, though, she and partner Sofia Cimatti had failed to register a game.

“I remember that final like it happened yesterday,” said Bacchetta. “It was an incredible match. At the beginning I felt a lot of pressure because I needed to win the title to close my circle and win all the big titles in my career.

“We lost the first set 6-0. I was frustrated but my partner Cimatti spoke with me. She took care of me and she led me to the victory. It was an amazing match. I can only thank my special partner.”

That special partner was a double champion at last year’s event – with Cimatti adding the mixed doubles title alongside Michele Cappelletti to her women’s doubles victory with Daina. For Cappelletti, the European Championships also brings great memories as the event he considers to be the launch pad for his professional career.

“I have special memories of the European Championships because, when I won with Luca Carli in 2011, it was my first real important title on the ITF Tour,” he remembers. “I was just 19 years old and winning that title was the beginning of my pro career. It made me understand that I had good chances to one day become one of the best players in the world.”

With players from 19 nations set to take part in Sozopol, including a further seven nations in the junior event, the 10th edition of the European Championships promises to deliver another special event this weekend.

“Tennis Europe is proud to have been at the forefront of the Beach Tennis revolution,” said Allar Hint, Chairman of the Tennis Europe Pro Committee. “The European Beach Tennis Championships were originally conceived to be the region’s major event and we are thrilled to see continued growth of the event, with ever more teams representing our 50 member nations taking part and now the addition of a junior tournament.

“I’d like to commend the ITF for the fantastic job that it has done in promoting and growing the sport of beach tennis, and also the many nations – including Italy, San Marino, Great Britain, Israel, Turkey, and now Bulgaria, that have hosted these Championships over their first decade.”