ITF Clay-Court Swing In Catalonia Concludes In Mataró

Guy den Ouden (photo: Club Tennis Mataró)


When you think of Catalonia, a multitude of images and associations immediately come to mind, highlighting what makes this region in the northeast of Spain so unique. With its capital, Barcelona, Catalonia is renowned for its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and a proud, distinct identity deeply rooted in history.

The Pyrenees in the north attract visitors with their snow-capped peaks, providing excellent opportunities for winter sports and hiking. The Costa Brava in the east is a paradise for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts. Additionally, the fertile plains of the Ebro Delta in the south are an important habitat for flora and fauna, as well as a place of natural beauty.

Top-tier tennis

Catalonia is also synonymous with top-tier tennis. This spring, both fans and players in the autonomous community, with its four provinces, experienced a tennis bonanza. From March to May, eight tournaments were held as part of the ITF World Tennis Men’s Tour in Torelló, Les Franqueses de Vallés, Badalona, Tarragona, Reus, Sabadell, Valldoreix, and Vic. Additionally, there were ATP Challenger events in Girona and El Prat de Llobregat, the latter hosted at the Tennis Academy of former Top 10 star Emilio Sanchez Vicario. The clay-court swing was crowned by the Barcelona Open, Spain’s only ATP 500 tournament, where Rafael Nadal made an emotional farewell.

In comparison, throughout Germany during this same period, only the BMW Open, three Challenger events, and four tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit for men took place.

Broad Support for the Tournament Series

“The love for sport is very strong here,” observes Nicola Kuhn, who played for Spain on the tour from 2016 to 2021 but has since returned to competing under the German flag. “There are many clubs organizing national tournaments, making the jump to the international level not as daunting. The Spanish Tennis Federation has also invested a lot of money this year to support the tournaments. This support gives younger players more opportunities to compete in events every week. It seems to be working very well.”

Kuhn, who lives in Torrevieja, a city on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, participated in much of the Catalonia swing. He was quite successful: in Valldoreix, the 24-year-old reached the final, finishing runner-up in a close final to former Top 25 player Martin Klizan. In Reus, Kuhn captured his first title of the season.

“For me, the tournaments here are ideal and easily accessible by car. The week in Reus was very enjoyable. The people at the club are all very friendly. Additionally, the stands were well filled, which is not always a given at a Futures event,” Kuhn reported.

Guy den Ouden wins in Mataró

With the third edition of the Torneig Internacional Ciutat de Mataró, the tennis fiesta has reached a temporary conclusion with the ninth ITF World Tennis Tour M25 tournament in Catalonia this spring.

Guy den Ouden captured the title in the capital and largest town of the Maresme county on Sunday. The No. 2 seed from the Netherlands fought past top seed Lorenzo Giustino of Italy 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 in two hours and 15 minutes. Den Ouden lifted his 11th career trophy on the Pro Circuit.

The tour, however, will return to Catalonia this autumn when the cities of Sabadell and Barcelona will host two more events.