The San Diego Beach Tennis Association started its 2011 tennis season with a round robin social tournament on Sunday, June 19, in Ocean Beach. The location of Beach Tennis activities in Ocean beach is at the corner of Spray Street and Brighton Ave near the lifeguard tower. Four permanent sets of poles for Beach Volleyball were outfitted with extra hooks for Beach Tennis nets. Gretchen Magers, President of the San Diego Beach Tennis Association and retired tennis touring professional, turned the season opening event into a fun social tournament with choice of Beach Tennis paddle or regular tennis racquet.
The rules of Beach Tennis state that standard tennis racquets and / or paddles are used with depressurized tennis balls in the United States. Beach Tennis organizations all over the rest of the world pretty much use paddles for the game. Scoring: 8-game pro set / no-ad scoring (meaning 40 all sudden death). One serve only and must land within the boundary line / Let serves are take-overs. The ball is not allowed to bounce. In Sunday’s event, Gretchen Magers had the group play “First to six” rounds of tennis and most players used paddles, some of them for the first time. Recreational tennis player Karl Rehen from Los Angeles remarked afterwards, “I had no idea the game is so much more fun with real Beach Tennis paddles. Regular racquets just feel out of place on the beach for me from now on.”
The Hetherington family vacations in San Diego on a regular basis. During one of those vacations they met Gretchen Magers who teaches tennis at the Peninsula Tennis Club (Robb Field) in Ocean Beach and became “hooked” on Beach Tennis right away. Mother Jane Hetherington says, “Beach Tennis is like a cross between regular tennis and Beach Volleyball, and I am a big Beach Volleyball fan.” She competed in Sunday’s event together with her husband John, daughter Emily (17) and son CJ (15) and adds, “Beach Tennis is not as serious as regular tennis and not so hard on the old bones.” John Hetherington, pointing to the fun they were all having on the beach, says with a big smile, “This is the only tennis game that gives you that grainy feeling between your toes.” The family won the San Diego Beach Tennis award for most fun team at a similar event 2 years ago.
Participant Leticia Meireles played all in pink after raising money with a tennis fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation earlier that morning. Originally from Brazil, she usually plays tennis with the Carlsbad and North County Tennis Meetup Group. After some life altering personal challenges Meireles had to go through she decided to create her own challenges and try to expand her horizon at the same time. Subsequently she learned how to fly an airplane, ran in a marathon and then in a triathlon, and now pledged to raise $10,000 for breast cancer. As a new tennis player, Meireles enjoys being on the beach and meeting new friends.
All up and down the coast of Southern California Beach Tennis organizations are gearing up for the 2011 season of recreational and competitive play. Gretchen Magers has just published the 2011 schedule for San Diego:
- Regular Sunday afternoon Beach Tennis from 3 to 6 pm at Coronado’s Central Beach (just north of Hotel Del Coronado, near the public rest rooms), starting June 26
- Trips to Hermosa Beach (West Coast Beach Tennis) for the weekends of July 3-4, August 6-7, September 4, and October 29
- Road Trip to Santa Cruz September 17-18
- Annual big event San Diego Beach Tennis Smash in Ocean Beach September 24-25
- Beach Tennisfest in Pacific Beach Oct. 1
San Diegans Yan Lavrovsky and Katya Chirkina are regulars at Beach Tennis tournaments all over the country. While Lavrovsky, a Siberia (Russia) born executive in the Biopharmaceutical business, is the more serious player competing in Pro events, Chirkina, a Moscow (Russia) born photographer loves to play recreational events. She also tries to mix business with pleasure and arrange photo shoots (fashion and headshot photography) wherever there is Beach Tennis. Earlier this month the couple competed in a New York event titled the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge and came in second in the Mixed Doubles division. They are planning on competing there again next month.
Have you played Beach Tennis yet? Any experience or comments you would like to share? Please leave in the Comments box below.
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