FITA Magazine

The Millennium Estoril Open and the History of Tennis in Portugal

Article by Francisco Teles da Gama

João Sousa, 2023 [Millennium Estoril Open]

We are currently witnessing some of the best tennis players in the world clash in the paradisiacal landscape of Estoril in the Millennium Estoril Open ATP 250 tournament.

Estoril is the same region where tennis would take its first steps in Portugal. In 1874, the Englishman Walter Clopton Wingfield published the first treatise of modern tennis called Lawn-Tennis under the influence of a medieval sport called Jeu de Paume, also described by William Shakespeare.

In 1880 we already find Portuguese people practicing this great recreation of Wingfield. The English emigrated to Cascais and Porto and impressed the local inhabitants who began to want to compete in this new sport.

The merchant Guilherme Ferreira Pinto Basto was the first Portuguese to popularize Tennis, even becoming the first president of the Portuguese Tennis Federation in 1925.
In 1882 the first tennis tournaments were organized in Portugal at the Sporting Club of Cascais with the participation and support of King D. Carlos, who proved to be a good tennis player.

More than 140 years have passed since this historic moment and one can still hear the strokes of the ball on the courts of Estoril in this year of 2023, where Portuguese participation is vast and has demonstrated its value.

Frederico Ferreira Silva, Henrique Rocha, João Sousa, Nuno Borges and Pedro Sousa are already part of this narrative in the international circuit, which will one day figure in the books as one of the best generations of Portuguese Tennis.

In 2017, João Sousa the best Portuguese tennis player of all time held the racquet of King D. Carlos himself, as in a passage of testimony in the history of this sport.

As the tournament continues to grow and attract more top players, we can expect to see even more Portuguese players rise to prominence and contribute to the rich history of tennis in Portugal.  

Millennium Stadium, 2023 [Millennium Estoril Open]

The above article was written during the Millennium Estoril Open 2023 for a special feature on FITA Magazine. 
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