Sports

Beach Tennis USA, the organization responsible for launching the fast-paced, hybrid sport of beach tennis in North America, will hold the final two events of its '07 National Tour in Long Beach.

The Beach Tennis USA Northeastern Regional Qualifier will be held Aug. 18-19 while the 2007 Beach Tennis USA National Championship will take place Sept. 1-2, and will be taped for broadcast on SportsNet New York (SNY), Tennis Channel and Comcast SportsNet. The event site is located on the beach at Riverside Blvd. near the Boardwalk in Long Beach.

Beach tennis is played on a regulation beach volleyball court where two players on each team use standard tennis racquets to hit a depressurized tennis ball back and forth over the net without letting it hit the sand. Launched as a pro sport in 2005, the game has attracted many former pro tennis tour veterans like Gretchen Magers (Wimbledon), Jay Berger (Davis Cup) and Pablo Arraya (1992 Olympics). Murphy Jensen, 1993 French Open champ, is the play-by-play announcer for Beach Tennis USA's televised events.

This year as many as 75 Men's and Women's Pro division teams from 12 countries are expected to compete in the National Championship event. Two-time National Beach Tennis Champions, Phil Whitesell and Chris Henderson (Charleston, SC), will look to bring home their third straight title against a field of ever-increasing competition. In the Women's Pro Division, National Champ Nadia Johnston (Long Beach), fresh from her multiple victories during the West Coast leg of the tour, will defend her title with a new partner, Arpi Kojian (Santa Ana, CA). This year, players will compete for a total of $15,000 in prize money.

At both events, there will be free instructional play on Saturday, with balls and racquets provided courtesy of Head and Penn, official equipment suppliers of Beach Tennis USA. Preliminary qualifying play for both the Men's and Women's Pro divisions will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with elimination rounds throughout the day. The Men and Women's Pro finals will take place Sunday at 3 and 4 p.m., respectively.

Beach tennis, which was launched in the U.S. as a pro and recreational sport in 2005 by real estate developer Marc Altheim, is a true hybrid sport that combines tennis and beach volleyball into one exciting and fast-paced game. Now in its third season, Beach Tennis USA has garnered increased attention while hosting events in Southern Florida, Southern California and New York. Beach Tennis USA has also gained recognition in the tennis world, attracting many former top-rated tennis players and having televised competitions featured on Tennis Channel and SportsNet New York (SNY). The company continues to grow by adding new licensees in various U.S. cities. To learn more about this fast-growing sport, or to become a licensee, please visit www.beachtennisusa.net.

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