Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Beach tennis

The reinvention of yet another sport to make it beach-friendly and fashionable on the golden sands.

The beach has already managed to convert volleyball and football into a whole new realm, and now it is the turn of humble tennis. Arriving in Brazil in 2008 for the first time, beach tennis has slowly broken into the mainstream, and can be seen played on Rio's beaches from Flamengo to Barra and almost everywhere in between. Combining the scoring structure of tennis with the style of badminton (the ball cannot bounce, naturally) and speed of table tennis (the pace is fast on the mini-courts, with diving about pretty essential), and then relocating the whole thing to the beach seems like a winning formula.

Created in 1997 in Ravenna, Italy, the sport has spread to relatively few countries given the popularity of tennis in its purest form. Unsurprisingly the United States were among the first to pick up on the craze, and it was there in 2007 that Léo Correia, now President of the Carioca Association, was first exposed to it. His enthusiasm encouraged friend Adão Chagas to take it up, and after contacting the International Association the pair were soon invited to compete in the World Championships;

"They invited us, but we didn't really know the sport well enough. Of course we played tennis so we had a basis, and we just started practicing. In 2008 we came third beating the experienced Australians and in 2009 we beat Luxembourg and again took bronze," he told Time Out.

The growth of the sport in Brazil has been rapid. According to Correia there are already six state federations comprising Bahia, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ceará and Espírito Santo, and around 1,500 players across the country. Worldwide, 55 countries are now signed up to the International Beach Tennis Federation. According to Adam Chagas, who also takes classes in Ipanema, its success lies in the sport's simplicity, and even those with little racquet sport experience can quickly pick it up;

"What happens is that one person comes here and plays. Then the next day they bring a girlfriend or friends who just come to watch. Then they see how much fun it is and before you know it they have picked up a racquet too."

Prices start at R$50 per hour, including all the equipment you will need.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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