Tennis Europe has announced the team nominations for the 12th edition of the European Beach Tennis Championships, which are due to be held in two weeks in Kranevo, Bulgaria.
A total of 126 of the ITF Beach Tennis Tour’s top European players will be in action in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles competitions, representing 19 of Tennis Europe’s member nations from 5-8 September.
The world’s top 4-ranked players will head the women’s event, as Italy once again fields the strongest team possible. Defending champions and 2016 winners Sofia Cimatti & Flamina Daina will be the top seeds as they aim for a third European title together. They will face a strong challenge from their compatriots, 2017 champion Gulia Gasparri and her partner Nicole Nobile.
Last year’s bronze medallists are also back, as Russians Darya Churakova & Irina Glimakova look to go one step further.
On the men’s side, defending champions Mathieu Guegano & Theo Irigaray (pictured) caused a sensation last year when they became the first non-Italian team ever to win the men’s event.
Four top 10 players are in the draw, led by world #1 Nikita Burmakin of Russia, who will team with Sergey Kuptsov. Spain’s world #3 Antomi Ramos Viera and Gerard Rodriguez will also be amongst the contenders. Italy once again has a strong squad, with world #4 Tommaso Giovanni, #13 Mikael Alessi and the world #8s Dorniao Beccaccioli & Davide Benussi. Unusually for the Italian men’s squad, none of the four players nominated has previously won the title.
Hosting the event for a fourth time, the Bulgarian Tennis Federation is permitted to nominate an extra team in each event and will send a squad of 12 players as the country again showcases the booming discipline of Beach Tennis.
Special beach tennis events for players aged 18 & Under and (for the first time ever) 14 & Under will also be held alongside the European Championships. In a strong field of the next generation’s best talents, one to watch will be Italy’s Niccolo Cattani, already ranked #36 in the world at 18 years of age. Draws will be published online for these junior events on September 1st.