San Marino step aside – Brighton and Hove has been chosen to host the European Beach Tennis Championships for the next two years.
The up-and-coming sport, known for its fast-paced action is to be staged at Kemp Town’s Yellowave beach sports centre between August 9 and 11.
The sixth annual event will see competitors from across the continent battle it out for the European title.
Brighton and Hove takes over from San Marino as the host city in a two-year deal which will see both the 2013 and 2014 championships on home sand.
The sport originated from the small island of Aruba, which lies off the coast of South America, in the early 2000s.
It is played on a standard volleyball court but with a low compression tennis ball and solid paddle-like rackets.
Scoring is the same as regular tennis, but competitors have to reach seven games to win a set – compared to the standard six.
The sport is popular on the continent as well as in the USA and Mexico.
Italians Marco Garavini and Paolo Tazzari are the current world champions and are hoping to add the European title to their collection.
Fellow Italians Simona Bonadonna and Eva D’Elia are defending women’s champions, and favourites to win in 2013. Peter Bretherton, President of the Lawn Tennis Association, described the news as a great opportunity to expose the sport to wider audience.
He said: “Tennis is a fun, social sport, and beach tennis is a great example.
“We’re delighted that Great Britain is hosting the European championships and we will use this opportunity to showcase our sport to a whole new audience.”
Francesco Ricci Bitti, the International Tennis Federation president, added: “These championships will provide an excellent opportunity to bring this relatively new brand of tennis into the public domain, and inspire more people to take up the sport both in Britain and Europe.
“The European Beach Tennis Championships are a major highlight for players and we have no doubt that they will be eagerly awaiting the chance to showcase their talents on British sand.”
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