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03 Jan

New Sandever's purple/orange ball. Players opinion.

The talks about the new beach tennis ball started a long time ago, but due to the pandemic, the first big tournaments that were played with the new balls were the ITF50 and ITF100 in Gran Canaria at the end of 2020. Here we played with Sandever balls purple/orange color, which was very different from the balls we used to play before. So I decided to ask the players, how they like the new balls.Michele Cappelletti:“In general I like the ball. It’s pretty similar to the normal Sandever, talking about materials especially. And about the color, I don’t think it was the right ball for this tournament because in Gran Canaria we have dark sand and in my opinion, with dark sand, you need another color of the ball. So let’s call it a negative first test of the ball because it was not the right place to do it. It’s hard to find the perfect color. I know that Sandever and Sexy are testing some other new combinations, so we need to test more”.Nina Djordjevic:“The color didn't make a difference to me playing, but when I watched live videos, it was impossible to see, so I don't think that the color solved that problem.I liked that the ball is slower when playing, but it gets dead too fast, less than a set and the ball is already dead, so this should be improved. So all in all - I like the ball, but on TV it's really hard to see and the quality is too low, as the ball gets bad too fast”.Saulo Tejada:“I love it. Balls are very slow, which is perfect for me”.Castellano Hugo:“For sure I like these balls! I have only played two times with them and have reached two times the final so I think they are good. I don't give too much importance to the ball. I am happy to play and I didn't really realize that the colors changed. All balls are different so you have to adapt. I think that these balls are good for the game as you can make a strong smash and it's not too hard to make a good défense. Also on the return, you can have a lot of control with these balls. Even if the balls look really tired after thé warm up it's totally fine to play with”.Julia Chubarova:“If we compare these balls with Quicksand, I would say that Quicksand balls are better controlled. But with the new balls, it’s easier to defeat a hard smash so the rallies can be longer. Which is worse for me, but better for the game. The disadvantage of these balls is that they become soft and fluffy really fast. And the difference between the new ball and the same ball after 10 minutes is very big. It’s like you start to play the match with Babolat Orange and finish with old Artengo. About the color. I don’t know if it changed anything. During the day it’s quite the same, at twilight the orange/yellow ball is more visible. And on TV translation you don’t see the ball at all. I think it’s because of the dark sand in Gran Canaria. So maybe we need balls of different color depending on the sand color”.Antomi Ramos:“I didn’t like the ball at all. Very very difficult to see this ball during the rallies. I prefer the normal ball”.Sabrina Lopez:“Color is fine. It looks good, but the quality is not very good, it wears out very soon”.Manela Cunha:“For me personally I like the balls. I think they are not too soft or too hard. They are well balanced. But the color I don’t likeI think it is harder to see them if the light is not perfect. I don’t know if it is because of the 2 colors combined or if it is because of the color choice, but for me, I think, the color is worse.Manuel Ringsletter:“Comparing the changes the ball is good. Color has no effect on the game, not negative and not positive, visibility from outside is a bit better. It feels softer and heavier/bigger slowing down the game which is good. General feeling with the ball is good, still takes the spin, etc. One big problem is that it lasts only 2 games. After an extremely short time, the ball pressure goes down and the felt opens, changing the ball a lot. Quality in this case is poor and needs to improve while keeping the rest the same.When it's dark you see the ball a lot worse and I heard with lights it's impossible to see the ball when you play a high Lob. So color does do something and normal lighting will not be enough. Lights like in Aruba would be the minimum for night games

02 Jan

How is organized an International Beach tennis tournament during the Covid era?

Of course, it depends on the country, but I think many rules are quite similar.The biggest problem is that competition may be canceled at any time, therefore the entry deadlines are extended as much as possible. We signed up for the tournament in Gran Canaria just a week before the start. The 2nd problem is traveling. It is not always clear how to get to the competition. Flights are being canceled. Travel rules change constantly. We can also even talk about some kind of discrimination. It is clear that if the tournament is held in Europe, then the players from South America are in a worse position. For players from Russia, in turn, it is generally difficult to fly out of the country.Moreover, players from many European countries need to quarantine at home after visiting any other country.Of course, for professional athletes the rules are softer in many ways, but another problem is that the government of some countries may not even recognize beach tennis players as professional athletes...Now let’s move to the anti-Covid rules on the tournament...As we know, beach tennis is a part of the tennis family, so many rules apply to us. However, the money and forces of beach tennis tournament organizers are far from tennis ones, so we don’t have such strict rules with quarantine and covid-tests.Bubble rule. In beach tennis, it is not particularly enforced, but everyone is talking about it. The main thing is that tournament participants are advised not to leave the hotel except for matches, avoid public places and not communicate closely with other players. Again, nobody can check it. So you can freely do what you want outside the tournament site.You must wear a mask in the stadium (even on the beach), except when you are playing. This is monitored very strictly. At the stadium, you must keep a distance of 2 meters even with a partner, moreover, even with a member of your family. This is also being controlled.Before you could approach your court from any side of the beach, now there is an entrance and exit.Before the tournament, you need to fill out an online questionnaire, where, among other things, note that you have a negative covid test. In Gran-Canaria this test is also checked by an official hotel prior to check-in.Every day entering the site, you need to fill out a health questionnaire and measure the temperature.Outsiders cannot enter the stadium. Only a player and 2 attendants.There are no tribunes or spectators on the central court. In Gran Canaria on the central court instead of the stands were made lodges (tents). Each of them could accommodate up to 4 people.After every match cleaning ladies cleaned the chairs after the players. Ah yes, and no high-fives, kisses, or handshaking during and outside the match.

02 Jan

“The possibility to finally compete this year is the best New year present”.

“The possibility to finally compete this year is the best New year present”. These were my actual words on the prizing giving ceremony.I’ve always been thinking about the tournament organization in Gran Canaria as one of the best in the tour, and definitely the best one in case of relations with players.Firstly it’s all about the location. Tournament organizers are blessed to be located on the beautiful beach with crowded promenade and many cheap hotels and stylish restaurants with amazing view nearby.So you never have this problem, where to eat or where to rest between the matches. Everything is very comfortable. Then comes the organization quality.You know these moments when you come to the court and see holes in the sand and low net? And then you need to spend another 10 minutes to find the referee and deal the problem. That never happens here. After every match the tournament staff immediately came to the court to clean the chairs, smooth the sand and change the net height, as now women and men play with a different net height.  Physio, weather, matches schedule, life-streaming quality, communication... You know I am very eager to find the disadvantages of the organization. But this time I can’t)) Everything is very professional.Every player can get as much water, bananas and chocolate bars as he wants. Which is very generous comparing to tournaments where you have only 1 bottle of water for the match. Hospitality for TOP-4 teams:This was the 2nd time that I got into the Hospitality of the Gran Canaria event.So, what did we have? - 4 nights in the hotel. This hotel was simple but extremely closed to the site. - Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead of feeding us with lunch box they gave us tickets to restaurants and cafes nearby, so we could experience food in different places and order by menu, which was great. And on the last day of the tournament we had a 50 euros card for New Year dinner in a good Italian restaurant.By the way in non-Covid era this tournament was famous for the free lunches on site for all the players and paella evening on the last day of the event.And yes. We will talk about the Covid mesures on the event. In the next post I’m going to write about all changes I noticed.But now I just wanna say I can not even imagine how hard it is to organize an international event in these circumstances. So this was just the best New Year present for beach tennis lovers

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