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08 Dec

Why 2018 is a revolutionary year for beach tennis?

The season 2018 brought to us a lot of changes and surprises... We have counted 10 reasons why the year 2018 was/is very special or in other words "revolutionary" for the history of beach tennis.1. New ITF team. The first and the most important point is the establishment of a new team in ITF (International Tennis Federation), specifically targeted on the development of beach tennis. The new team has already demonstrated its motivation by the presence in the world beach tennis major events, by finally changing some rules, working on the calendar of the next year in advance, and by communication with players and organizers. Right now, we don’t know yet the full picture of ITF politics related to beach tennis, but we can assume that this is the next step in the development of the sport.2. These 3 meters...Many men worried that the rule of 3 meters will give more advantage to the server and will make the game even faster. But, actually, it seems that the problem was not in the serve, but in the fast receive, which some man players learned to perform (especially blocking the serve). During the use of the rule, we have been witnessing the increase of spectacular rallies and a new techniques of receiving the serve.3. First “World Beach Games” announcement.This year the huge announcement was made. Beach Tennis was added to the list of sports represented in the World Beach Games, which will take place in September 2019 in San Diego, California. This is considered as pre-Olympic step for our young sport and gives a bunch of new impressions and motivation to the players all over the world.4. Welcome to Africa, the new destination and continent.Of course, some African countries like Egypt and Morocco were already on the beach tennis map, however, this year South Africa has joined the game by organizing 6 ITF tournaments of different categories including ITF $25000 in December and developing beach tennis on the national level. Moreover, this year in Tunisia was organized the very first Beach Tennis African Championship. There took part only 5 men and 4 women doubles from Tunisia and Morocco, but expecting more next year.5. Italians are no longer absolute dominants.The results of major tournaments of this year show that Italy, the motherland of Beach tennis and the country with the biggest population of professional players is losing its place of an absolutely dominant figure, especially in Men’s category. For that reason we can see the new international doubles combinations, what was almost impossible a few years ago. These are the winners of the major events of the year: European Championships 2018. Men: Irigaray / Guegano (France). Women: Daina / Cimatti (Italy).World Team Championship 2018 - Brazilian Team.World Championship 2018. Men: Ramos (Spain) / Alessi (Italy). Women: Bacchetta / Gasparri (Italy).ITF 50000$ in Kazan. Men: Burmakin (Russia) / Giovannini(Italy). Women: Cimatti / Daina (Italy).ITF 35000$ in Ecuador. Men: Ramos (Spain) / Cramarossa (Italy). Women: Cortez / Vita (Brazil).ITF 50000 in Aruba. Men: Burmakin (Russia) / Giovannini (Italy). Women: Biglmaier (Germany) / Miller (Brazil).6. The first non-Italian player to win the World Championships in Men’s doubles.It was the Spanish Antomi Ramos Viera, whose name forever will stay in the beach tennis history. In the partnership with Italian Mikael Alessi he has defeated another Italian - Tommaso Giovannini and Russian Nikita Burmakin. In this match was decided who is going to be the first non-italian World Champion in Men's Doubles! And at the end, Ramos and Alessi won with the score 7-5 7-6.7. No Italians in the final of European Championships.The winners of all previous European Championships - Italians were shocked as the match for the first place in Men's category was played without them... Day earlier Cramarossa / Garavini lost to French pair Irigaray / Guegano and Carli / Cappelletti were defeated by Russian team Burmakin / Kuptsov. In the final French were better than Russians with a score 7-6 6-4 and became the first non-Italian pair to win the European Championships.8. The Russian is NUMBER one in the world.The victory in Aruba Beach Tennis Open became crucial for Nikita Burmakin as after successfully finishing the event he became the new World NUMBER ONE. For Nikita Burmakin it was undoubtedly the best season (finals in the most all major events).9.  New rankings system and tournament categories.In September all the federations got an email from ITF with the new structure of the calendar and rankings system, which clearly determines the general way of the sport from fun to professionalism. In the opinion of many players it still needs to be improved, however, the result will be seen in the next months only. So let’s wait and see.10. launch.The last, but not least. was presented in January 2018 and for less then one year has gathered more than 250 tournaments and more than 1500 players. Moreover, the platform became the first online platform for this beach tennis that unites the whole sport under one roof. Some people even say that launch of such system provoked ITF to make a move (at least speeded up it)! A bit later we will prepare an article about the completed work and new plans of the system.   

03 Dec

Nikita Burmakin: “On the court we play a sports game. Behind the court - strategic”.

In the updated ITF ranking, the Russian Nikita Burmakin became №1 in the world in men’s ranking.  2 weeks ago we managed to do an interview right at the airport after returning from a tournament in Aruba, where Nikita had a sensational victory. When did you first feel that you could be the №1 in the world?I had this dream on the very first day when I saw beach tennis and found out that there are World and European Championships, as well as a real world’s tour. Than beach tennis was already officially recognized by the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, and was being developed by ITF.In theory, tennis on the beach was for me an ideal combination, since from early childhood I was seriously engaged in classic tennis and already in my student years I managed to “play out” classic volleyball. After some time I really became interested in beach tennis, I was selected to the Russian national team and began to travel for tournaments. But the real feeling that I could be the NUMBER 1 in the world came, when we won the World Team Championship in Moscow in the final against the Italian National Team in 2016. It was a miracle for the Russian national team, winning the best players in the world in doubles and the mixed in the most dramatic fights. But in those days I did not have enough class to win several games in a row at a high level. But over the years this also has come. To qualify for first place in the world rankings, it was necessary to reach the finals of the three largest tournaments and win 10 more during the year. The fate of the first place was decided at the final of the largest tournament in the world - Aruba Beach Tennis Open, where I needed to win to fulfill my dream. In the semifinals, we set a record for the length of the match - 3 hours and 17 minutes and won with a score of 3/6 7/6 7/6 (13-11). Our opponents had 4 match points! The final took place in 2 hours and again a strong-willed victory! Honestly, I still can not finally believe that everything turned out! What did you learn to be able to win several matches in a row?Great training work and, of course, the bitter experience of losses. How does Nikita Burmakin train and prepare for tournaments?The nuances of the training process, I still will leave as a secret. I can only say that my coach is my father. I would like to spend more time on physical training. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I also work as a coach, there is almost no strength left for more practices. Who are you: a coach or a professional player?In recent years - of course, the player. In another way victories can not be achieved. All priorities are placed on this. At the same time, unfortunately, the life of beach tennis players is financially difficult, even for the №1 in the world. We can only dream of professionalism, while we hold on to great enthusiasm and love for sport. The №1 in the world has no sponsors, advertising contracts?This is my 2nd day as №1 in the world, there are no serious sponsors yet. I am open to cooperation, beach tennis is actively developing. At the final of the World Championship in Italy was attended by about 4 thousand spectators, and the video broadcast gained about 50 thousand views. The geography of tournaments is very extensive and diverse - the whole of Europe, Russia, America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa, Thailand, Japan and many other countries. ITF is actively working on the adaptation of the image and format of the game for TV broadcasts.By the way, the World Beach Games 2019 in San Diego will be broadcast on the NBC and NBC Olympics!The Italian company Rakkettone produces for me a personal racket called “Davai”. Together we carefully develop and improve it to make it as good as possible in the game. I am very pleased with this, I think that I have one of the most thoughtful and high-quality rackets in the tour. How did your attitude to beach tennis change as your rating was increasing?I immediately liked this sport. Of course, along with the development of beach tennis, along with the growth of tournaments, the growth of prize money, the increase of the number of trips, it became more and more interesting. If there were no such development, then at some point I would have to finish. We hope that beach tennis will be a test sport of the Olympics in 2024, and in 2028 will enter the program of the Olympics! And in 2019, the focus is on the first World Beach Games in San Diego, which are held by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). This is the most important event in our sports life and we will seriously prepare for the fight for medals! Who helped with your development as a beach tennis player?First of all, my father, Gennady Burmakin. He coached me from my first sports day, taught me to be an athlete, to grow and not to give up. By the way, on the day of my departure for the tournament in Aruba, we had an excellent training session.I thank the Tennis Federation of Russia, especially Shamil Tarpishchev and Dmitry Viharev. They believed in a new sport, gave it the green light and are actively involved in the development of beach tennis, not only in our country, but throughout the world! Today we have the most important tournaments: World Team Championship and one of the biggest tournaments in Kazan.The most important role was played by Makarov Kirill, who opened in St. Petersburg the first and for several years the only indoor beach center in our country, “Dynamit”, where many members of the Russian beach tennis, football and volleyball teams train and play. We are very lucky to have this center. If he had not done that, I would simply not started to play. Now the St. Petersburg Tennis Federation supports beach tennis and provides the foundation for the Russian team.Doctor Rinat Akbarov, who I met 4 days before my first and one of the main victories at the World Team Championship in Moscow, did wonders with me. He then restored me from an incredibly poor psycho-physical condition, after a terrible loss in Kazan, helped me get together correctly and win almost impossible matches against the legends of beach tennis. Since then, we are constantly working with him, carry out rehabilitation and preparation for new starts.Of course, many more people contributed to my victories, I remember everyone and I really appreciate it! Tell me about your partner?My partner in most tournaments is Italian Tommaso Giovannini. He is very young, but he turned out to be the best combination of style for me. It is interesting to note, I have never played in major tournaments with top players. They are all Italians, and mostly play with each other, trying not to let others win. I started to play with Giovannini when he was 120th in the world. And we have grown to the point of becoming the №1 and №2 in the world with a large margin from the rest. This is a particularly phenomenal result. What did you feel during the semi-finals when your opponents (Benussi / Beccaccioli) had match points?That we still can win, it happened. Your first thought after the end of the final?I wanted to thank everyone who supported. In the semifinals, we spent a lot of strength. The final was played almost immediately - after 2 hours. There was no time to recover: there was almost no energy left, neither moral nor physical. At the final, Russian fans and players helped us a lot. They sometimes shouted over a 3,000-strong stadium! Everyone was madly tired, but shouted to the last, tearing voices. And it helped me a lot, filled the lack of energy, so I immediately went to thank everyone. All in all, it was fantastic! At this tournament in Aruba, your primary goal was to be the №1 in the world or to win this tournament?One thing did not exclude the other, but, of course, it was more important for me to be the №1 in the world. I must say, I became the №1 without going to court. Because it was enough for me that Ramos and Cramarossa would lose before the final. They did it in the second round. So the question of would I be №1 or not, simply left. And then I focused entirely on winning the tournament. What are your future goals? You have already won the World Team Championship and Individual World Championship, the European Championships, Kazan, Aruba, became the №1 in the world, what next?World Beach Games in San Diego! As for the ranking, then, as all former first rackets of the world say - is easier to become the №1 than to hold on. So there is a new challenge - to stay on top.On the court we are playing a sports game, behind the court - a strategic one. Therefore, I always have to keep my finger on the pulse. Do you really feel as the №1 / best one in this sport at the moment?It is difficult yet to realize. And in general, to judge yourself correctly. But when I play on the court, I have to feel myself as the strongest. Otherwise, I can not win. And the rest you need to watch the rating, statistics. The result of a single tournament (edt.:  Nikita - the winner of a single tournament in Aruba, where all the strongest players took part) - everything speaks for me, so I hope that it is. And I will work on!

30 Nov

Federica Bacchetta: "I just had a feeling to retire"

At Aruba Beach Tennis Open 2018 many sensations happened. Among them was a very big statement about retirement of world №2 female player - Italian Federica Bacchetta. There was a very emotional farewell ceremony for her at the central court after the final match. As I heard it - I thought that the one epoch of beach tennis is close to over. For me Federica is a really extraordinary player whose game style is the best performance of beach tennis itself. Besides she showed us a great example of attitude: respecting her opponents, being true friends with her ex-partners and team mates, staying honest, calm and supportive at the very bad match situations and never giving up. This interview you read is taken from the very best player of female beach tennis… well, in my opinion. When and how did you start to play beach tennis?When I was 14 years old, I was playing tennis and during the summer I did not like it to stay under the sun to do nothing and finally finished up with playing beach tennis with my friends. Who was your first partner and your first tournament?I was 15 years old and played with Cecilia Salimbeni my first IFBT tournament.Tell me about highlights in your career?There were many great moments! For sure 4 victories in World Championship.. each of these tournaments were special. Allso the victory at Aruba Beach Tennis Open 2017. And for sure when we (the Italian national team)  won the World Team Championship 2015 against Russia with the decisive mixed match where for Italy played Garavini and me! But I think that each tournament gave me a special emotion! Which match you consider as the best in your life?The best victory was this year at the World Championship because we made a great tournament with Giulia Gasparri. We played very strong matches including the final which was also very tough and at one moment seemed impossible to win but finally we made it!Also the Double Mix tournament at the World Team Championship 2015.What is your favorite tournament?For sure the World Championship in Cervia because I play at home and there are lots of people coming to support me! Also this year in Rio was really great!Who is your best partner ? Mixed partner?I suppose I was very lucky because in my career I had very long partnerships with 3 players with who we created amazing feeling inside and also outside the court. First was with Giulia Spazzoli. She was my first “love”. We played together for three years. And won the first World Championship in 2010. Also it was the first year when the players from different federation ( ITF and IFBT) started to play under the same roof (FIT and ITF).The second one was Sofia Cimatti. Together with her we also have been playing for three years, made a lot of battle and won a lot of tournaments together including the World Championship 2014. We also created a lovely friendship and she was my witness for the wedding. Finally Giulia Gasparri. We have been playing together during my last 2 years and I think that we made the best seasons ever. In 2017 we won Italian, European and World Championships. And in 2018 we made the same except the European. Where we were the Runner ups. I think that we have written a beautiful page in female beach tennis.About the Double Mix, for sure my best partner is Marco Garavini, we played together for 10 years and together we won Italian, European and World Team Championship!What do you like to play more: doubles or mixed?I love to play both. But for sure I played more Double than Mix!When you firstly thought about retirement?At the end of 2017 I was thinking about my retirement. We spoke with Giulia Gasparri and my husband/ coach Michele Folegatti and I decided to continue one more year because deep insideI had more energy for spending. But I thought that I would be my last year and during and at the end of each tournament in 2018 I had a different sensation. I was thinking that maybe it could be the last one. And I felt that it is good like this!What is the reason of your retirement? And why you decided exactly Aruba to be your last tournament?I decided to retire at the first place because I just felt it. In your life some decisions are just inside you. You feel that this is a good choice. Right now it became really stressful to play beach tennis at a high level. You have to travel, have to organize the work at home, you have to play each tournament for having points to be in the fourth seeds. After many years I need a rest a little bit, I need to find time to spend with my husband without beach tennis. But I want to continue to train. I don’t want to stop, because maybe I can play some tournaments close to my home. But now I don’t want to have a commitment for all the season and that the reason of why in September I spoke with Giulia Gasparri and told her that she could be free for the next year. And we decide to play the last tournament in Aruba. And really it was the best choice ever. In Aruba they organized an amazing tribute for me, I couldn't stop crying. it was incredible! And after I heard that my husband asked them to make this happen. And then I couldn’t  stop to thank him, Aruba organizers and all the people that joined this wonderful moment!Do we expect for you to be back?Maybe.. right now I don’t really know. But for sure I want to continue to stay in the beach tennis world because it is my life. Maybe like a coach. Or maybe again like a player in the future. We will see!!