Tennis is a sport that was conceived by an officer in Her Britannic Majesty’s Army, and was presented to the public in 1874. Six years later, the first games of tennis were played in Portugal. Regarded as an elite sport, it has grown in popularity among fans and players.
In May this year, a Veteran’s Open Tournament was organised at the Faro Tennis Centre, in which 150 players took part in eight categories. A number of organisations were involved in running this tournament, and we were also part of it. The Algarve has the ideal weather conditions for this sport and that’s why there are 29 clubs registered with the Algarve Tennis Association. From the Sotavento in the east to the Barlavento in the west, there are several courts where you can practise and play a match.
We want to support Algarve athletes in order to help create a more competitive tennis circuit in the Algarve, as well as making a commitment to the sport in order to promote a healthy lifestyle. We recently discovered Maria Beatriz Teixeira, a promising Algarve tennis player.
It was under the watchful eye of her father that we found Maria Teixeira warming up on the tennis court of the Vila Real de Santo António Tennis Club, half an hour before the start of her training session. She started playing tennis at the age of 11 with the aim of losing weight, but when she won her first tournament away from her club, she started to think of the sport as a career option. From then on, her drive and dedication earned her several more trophies. Just this year, she has won 18 of the 21 official singles matches she has played.
Maria is now 17 and she’s still convinced that her future lies in the sport. A humble and somewhat shy person, she says she feels that women’s tennis in Portugal needs more support from fans, as well as greater visibility and international recognition. Although there are women’s tournaments in the country, she regrets that fact that these are not as important or as well-known as the men’s tournaments, giving the Estoril Open as an example.
In Portugal, there are increasing numbers of good tennis players, which is why the Portuguese women athletes are so competitive. Maria admires the tennis player Inês Gaspar Murta, another Algarve native; she has had the pleasure of practising with her and would love to meet her in a final.
Maria is aware of the hard work she has ahead of her if she is to reach the Grand Slam circuit but she has the necessary self-discipline and has already shown that she is on the right track. My Choice is proud to sponsor this athlete and is committed to seeing her succeed!