From Nov. 17-20, the best American beach tennis players took to the beaches of Aruba for the 2011 International Beach Tennis Championships. Players from all over the globe, including Italy, Brazil, France, Venezuela and Belgium among others joined their American counterparts to compete in this International Tennis Federation (ITF)-sanctioned tournament.
For the first time in Beach Tennis USA’s history, a team from the United States was victorious on center court, where in women’s doubles side of the draw, Nadia Johnston from Long Island & Nicole Melch captured the Professional Women’s Doubles Championship. The duo went up against Julie Labrit & Virginie Cabrien, who had just won a beach tennis tournament in St. Maarten the previous week.
“Winning our first G1 event, in an atmosphere like Aruba, and being the first U.S. team to win an international event is just unbelievable. It’s proof that we can compete with the best in the world,” said Johnston.
It was clear that the American team of Johnston & Melch would be unstoppable with their level of determination and will to make beach tennis history by becoming the first American team to ever win a G1 tournament.
“Winning felt like being on a different planet and writing a part of U.S. beach tennis history,” said top-ranked U.S. player Nicole Melch. “It motivates us to find sponsors and play more tournaments.”
On the men’s side of play, Matteo Marighella & Luca Meliconi of Italy took down fellow Italians, Alessandro Calbucci & Michele Cappelletti in the Professional Men’s Doubles Finals. Although no Americans made it into the men’s final, the American men, including Marty Salokas, Donald Young, Stephen Sayoc and Matt Garavaglia played at a very high level proving they are making their way to the top of the playing field.
At the end of the final match, it was clear that the tournament was not yet over as the music kicked in and the party began to celebrate beach tennis as a whole with fellow players from around the world. The event was hosted at Moomba Beach Bar and was made possible by organizers Jochem Ros and Sjoerd de Vries, who run Beach Tennis Aruba.
Back on American soil, the season may have concluded for the New York area; however, the sport is still very alive with new school initiatives and programs. Beach Tennis USA has initiated a program to be introduced to local school systems which gives students of all ages access to a great new sport. It has been adopted into Sewanhaka High School, Island Park Middle School, and the Long Beach & Hempstead School Districts.The sport combines the likes of badminton, volleyball, tennis and paddleball into one high-energy, easy-to-learn game.
Beach Tennis USA has launched a new Web site, BeachTennisUSA.net, where one can keep an eye out for the latest news and upcoming events from the official Beach Tennis ITF-sanctioning body in America.