HERAKLION, October 31, 2023
There are some towns on the tennis world map that have almost achieved legendary status among professionals. Not because they host glamorous Grand Slam events, but because they offer the opportunity to participate in months-long training camps under competitive conditions. These towns include places like Monastir in Tunisia, Antalya in Turkey, or Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt. In these sunny destinations, international professional tennis tournaments seem to take place year-round, not in traditional tennis clubs, but in holiday resort complexes.
In Crete, tennis professionals can also chase valuable world ranking points for several weeks a year. Since 2012, the Lyttos Beach Resort in Hersonissos has been hosting international athletes for both men’s and women’s events on the ITF World Tennis Tour.
Hersonissos, located approximately 25 kilometers east of the island’s capital Heraklion, is a picturesque coastal town on the northern coast of Crete. It’s a lively destination known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. This charming town, with a population of around 30,000, attracts thousands of tourists every year who want to enjoy the sunny weather, crystal-clear waters, and the warm hospitality of the locals.
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Nana ITF World Tennis Tournament
The tennis landscape on Greece’s largest island has seen a new addition. For the second year running, alongside the Lyttos Beach Resort, the Nana Golden Beach Hotel organizes tournaments on the Pro Circuit.
George Ploumis, director of the Ploumis Tennis Academy within the Nana Tennis & Sports Club, commends the professionalism of these events. The German-Greek, along with his team, offers tennis camps for clubs and individual players of all ages and skill levels throughout the year. He was previously involved in organizing tournaments at Lyttos before becoming responsible for the ITF World Tennis Tour events at Nana Golden Beach.
The on-site facilities are indeed impressive. The tennis facility boasts 13 hybrid clay courts, two of which are covered, five hard courts, and 3 paddle tennis courts with floodlights for evening matches. Most courts also offer unforgettable views of the Mediterranean Sea. The recently built Sports Club Center houses a 25-meter indoor pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center, which players can use during the tournament weeks.
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Royer Secures the Men’s Title
This three-week tournament series, taking place from October 15 to November 05 this year, includes two ITF World Tennis Tour M15 events and one M25 event for men on hard courts. There are also ITF World Tennis Tour events for women on clay in the categories W15, W25, and W40.
Top-seeded Frenchman Valentin Royer lived up to his favorite status and won the men’s tournament during the second week. Ranked 299th in the ATP world rankings, he defeated 18-year-old Czech Matthew William Donald 6-1, 6-1 in the final on Sunday.
The 22-year-old secured his fifth career title on the ITF Pro Circuit, his third of the season following his triumphs in Rabat, Morocco, and Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal. Royer also expressed his satisfaction with the facilities in Crete, especially at the Nana Golden Beach Hotel.
“I was in Crete two years ago but it’s my first time in this resort. The facilities are brand new. I’m staying at the five-star hotel here, which is a bit expensive but the venue and the view are amazing. It couldn’t be better to play tennis.”
Bara Triumphs in the Women’s Competition
On the women’s side, Romanian Irina Maria Bara emerged victorious. The number two seed in the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 clay court tournament defeated her compatriot Andreea Mitu 6-2, 6-1.
Ranked 190th in the WTA world rankings, Bara will stay in Crete for another week and participate in the final event of the Mediterranean swing.
“I was on holiday in Greece before, but it is my first time in Crete and I will definitely come back after this experience,” Bara stated. “I played very well this week. I like the conditions, and the weather was beautiful. Everything was perfect.”