Portugal has a popular tennis culture thanks to its great weather and the country’s general love of sport. That climate and love of tennis combined with Portugal’s more affordable training and lower tier tournaments has made the country a tennis hub.
Portugal’s close relationship with Britain meant that tennis was warmly welcomed as a British sporting export not long after Britain had established the modern game.
The Cascais sporting club, home of the Estoril Open, had its first Clay tennis courts in 1882. In 1902, the club held its first international tournament.
Portugal’s tennis federation has been around since 1924 and was set up so the country could participate in the Davis Cup.
More and more investment has gone into tennis in Portugal since the late 1980s when it became a member of the EU and this has resulted in more tennis clubs and academies, greater opportunities to train and an increase in professional players competing on the tours.
Portugal has a range of futures events which means it’s a great destination for upcoming players looking to get their foot on the rankings ladder.
Guilherme Pinto de Basto is one of Portugal’s most influential players and helped develop and grow the sport as both a player and president of the Portuguese tennis federation in the early to mid 20th century.
Joao Sousa is the country’s most accomplished player. He has won three ATP titles and has been ranked as high as 28 (May 2016).
Michelle Larcher de Brito came to the tennis world’s attention when as a qualifier she defeated Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon 2013 second round.
Estoril is one of the lead in ATP clay tournaments to the French Open. It was set up in 2015. Before that, it was the Portugal Open, which held both WTA and ATP tournaments.
In 2000, the ATP Finals were held in Lisbon. The tournament was won by Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten who beat Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras on his way to the title.
Like many countries, tennis training in Portugal seems to be personalised for the player. All aspects of tennis from fitness to technique and nutrition are part of training.
Tennis is linked closely to other sports with soccer clubs like Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon all having tennis academies.
There is a preference for clay courts, however clubs and academies have multi surface facilities.
Tennis academies are popular in Portugal with its ideal weather conditions, beautiful, inspiring scenery and its proximity to the beach.
One advantage Portugal has over its neighbor Spain is that it offers more affordable tennis coaching options.
Former player Joao Cunha Silva has a tennis academy near Lisbon, the JCS tennis academy.