You don’t have to be a world-class tennis player to win on the central court of the Roland Garros. As part of the promotion of beach volleyball before the Olympics in Paris in 2024, the prestigious Beach Pro Tour tournament – Elite rank16 was organized here. Every year, a large group of tennis players compete in the qualifying rounds to play at the local courts, because these are held in a different location. It is the same with sunbathers, who can feel what tennis stars feel only thanks to their performance in the main part of the event.
Paris organization to be corrected. The first rival of the Poles, a Frenchman known from PlusLiga
For example, Iga ¦wi ± tek. The 21-year-old has shown from the beginning of her senior career that she feels at home on the “meal” of the French Open. She triumphed on it twice, in 2020 and this season. Now Bartosz Łosiak and Michał Bryl can follow in her footsteps. And these are not unfounded hopes, because although they have only been playing together since this year, they have already won four Beach Pro Tour events (including Elite16 in Hamburg).
The above-mentioned series of beach volleyball events is a novelty. Previously, for many years, the games were run according to the World Tour format. In Paris, such competitions were held in 2005-08. In recent years, Marseille and Montpellier have been competed, so the French have experience in organizing tournaments in this sport, although in recent days they have not flashed.
– Here is some new team organizing the tournament for the first time and it shows. There is nothing to complain about, but it is far from ideal. Especially since it is an event of the highest rank – Elite16, not the lowest. For now, the conditions are tough. Transport is rarely organized, so you have to arrange it on your own, which should not be the case. The qualifying rounds and training sessions were in a different place, the main tournament in a different place. I also heard that it is very, very cold on the Roland Garros courts. Although it is a covered space, the inside of the hall created there is cooler than outside, where it is cold – says coach Grzegorz Klimek.
In the complex, where the main tournament is being competed since Thursday, three pitches have been prepared, including two match fields. Bryl and Łosiak at In the first group match at the central stadium, 21 will play against Remi Bassereau and Julien Lyneel, known until recently from indoor volleyball (he played, among others, in Jastrzębski Węgiel and Asseco Resovia Rzeszów). Judging by the photos circulating on the web, the host couple had a chance to train at this facility before. It was not given to the Poles, although they have been on the spot since Sunday.
– Usually it is so, that you also train on match objects, but it is not a big problem. The problem is that we had to do many things on our own that should theoretically be provided. The organizer is responsible for transport to the pitch. And all this is not there, and when it is, it is still to such a degree that it cannot be used too much. Because, for example, the bus starts at 8 am and the return is at 8 pm. It is pointless if you train, for example, at noon – the trainer of the white-and-reds enumerates.
This year’s Paris Christmas bonus is twice the budget of the beach-goers tournament
The main pitch where his players will play in the evening, he knew only from photos before Thursday. On this basis, Klimek stated that it resembled from Hamburg.
– It’s just as big. The one in Germany is also located on the tennis courts and can accommodate several thousand people. Both also have a closed roof, so they seem very similar – he points out.
So it is not the first chance for beach volleyball players to play on a tennis court. Outside of Hamburg, the same is true in Rome, where the game is played on the grounds of the famous Foro Italico complex.
Retractable roof on the Paris court Philippe Chatrier makes the beach volleyball players feel a bit like their colleagues from the hall. The influence of wind on the ball flight should be limited.
– It’s rather a facilitation. The question of finding oneself in terms of distance and distance remains, but just playing in a closed facility makes it a bit easier – admits the Polish coach.
The budget for the entire tournament is one million euros. Incomparably less than in the case of the French Open, where only over 43 million has been allocated to the prize pool this year. Sama Świątek was waiting for the triumph in the women’s single for a sum of more than twice the budget of the Paris Beach Pro Tour event – 2.2 million. Byl and Łosiak cannot even dream of such a bonus for winning any tournament, but in the event of success in the Sunday finals – apart from the euphoria of winning a prestigious competition – they could also boast that they achieved it in exactly the same place as the leader of the world ranking of tennis players .