THE CLUB

FROM THE ORIGINS TO 2000. THE EVOLUTION OF THE COUNTRY CLUB

The establishment was born at the beginning of the 80’s by a group of businessmen from Palermo who wanted to create a place , Viale dell’ Olimpo, where one could relax and play tennis .

It was originally called Castleforte Tennis Club. Never-ending card  games between Giorgio Cammarata  and Stefano Cipri ,entrepreneur ,one of the owners of the Ceifa and one of the original members who built the then Castelforte Tennis Club, took place .

“ Giorgio you are too good a player , I will end up having to give you the club that isn’t taking off , why don’t you  take it , you would make a go of it.” “Which club?”, “The Castleforte in via dell’Olimpio near Mondello”. After a few months of negotiations, Giorgio Cammarata and Oliviero Palma, a well known organiser of evening events in Palermo, threw themselves into an adventure that had started  quietly and that today is one of the most thriving clubs in national tennis  and one of the most appealing in the social sphere of Palermo. On 29 th May 1985 the club changed hands becoming Country.

The idea , Oliviero Palma , explains was to create something  that  could become similar to a holiday resort: playing tennis ,then having a pizza and then on to the nightlife in the disco. Our philosphy was to enjoy ourselves and let our numerous friends enjoy themselves too .After 10 days  of hard work , good will and cleaning  , we decided to invite around 30 of our friends to have  a pizza at the club for a pseudo opening. So myself ,Giorgio ,a pizzaiolo and a waiter ,organised a small party on 10 th June 1985.

Our first sponser was Franco Nulli : t-shirts , tablecloths  etc. labelled Bla Bla. To our suprise 200 people arrived. There was a fury to buy more pizza dough,  anything to satisfy our friends ! The evening ended dancing in the disco and we knew we would be able to count on “big numbers” for the future. A few days later many members joined.

The number one membership card was given to Pietro Oieni, number two to Giacomo Mosca and  then Giovanni di Benedetto , Dario D’Aleo, Federico Marino and Giuseppe Lauricella . After a few days others arrived , Alfredo Guli , Sandro Di Piazza, Alberto Travagliono , Francesco Spatafora, Franco Nulli ,Alfredo Agozzino, Alessandro Siagura, Bruno and Annamaria Ciulli. In less than two months there were more than 100 members. Every day, during that summer, Giorgio and Oliviero invented new ways to entertain their friends .

“ Sandro Vilardo, due to his experience in tourist resorts and being a tennis trainer – adds Oliviero Palma- was a great help to us . A very able entertainer bringing our social and sportive activities to life . In the summer of ’85 among the numerous events organised , games in the pool, a Fiat test track of tennis and many other activities that culminated late at night in the disco. The product  tennis – entertainment works  and the Country becomes an  important place to meet and enjoy oneself .There is one episode that took place in the club’s first year of life that must be remembered.

The country hosted the Under 14 and 18 national tournament at New Year, organised by Gianni Polizzi, which should have started on the 31 st of December , but did infact start on the 2 nd January “86.

“we had organised our first New Years Eve party at the club “ remembers Palma “ and I had returned home exhausted at six  in the morning . At 8.30 the club’s doorman woke me up : There’s a woman with a little girl  from Milan who is protesting . She says there is a tournament at the club ,insisting. I don’t know what to do . “ I was about to tell him and the woman where to go when I decided to put the woman  in contact with Gianni Polizzi.

“That little girl was Silvia Farina with her mother “. That tournament saw a series of talents on grass who would later land at the great platforms of the ATP and WTA . I like to remember above all , says Oliviero Palma , Barbara Schett the Under 14 New Year player and then winner in 1996 of  our Bilboa WTA. An episode partly merit of the Italian Cup , since its beginning at Country  there has always been a group of first rate  players .

In ’86 Sandro Allegra ,Gianfranco Alongi, Salvo di Matteo, Giacomo Mosca, Pierfrancesco Rao, captained by Sandro Viliardo enter into the national table . This  Itialian Cup  team together with others , will always be at the peak of Sicilian tennis and  Country , from the beginning of the 90’s ,with the elimination of the event , has a constant main role aiming nearly every year to enter the national table .

Between the 90’s and 2006 , the club added a second heated swimming pool , a large state of the art gym,a spa with sauna, turkish baths, solarium, jacuzzi etc., two new club houses , a position at the seafront in Addaura, at one end of the Gulf of Mondello, and a position at the beach in Mondello. The Club has around 3000 members today. The spa, gym and restaurant are the strong points of the club and the reason for  intense and consilidated activity.

There has always been  prosperous activity within the federation , participating in team championships in Seria B ,C and under 16,14,12 and 10. Many of our athletes have been called up by the Italian Tennis Federation.

A sporting friendship boasting a long history of success from the New Year Tournament (from 1985-1991) , to the Mens Satellite Circuit (from 1987-1989) ,and the Universiadi of ’97 ,to the WTA tour (from 1988-2013), the only other professional event in Italy after the Rome International ,with prize money of $250,000 ,of which the TV rights were sold worldwide and many famous international players participated: Jennifer Capirati ,Mary Pierce, Arantxa Sanchez, as well as the most famous Italian players , Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani, the last few becoming honourary members of the Club .

The undisputed  managerial ability of the club has seen that in more than 30 years of activity ,not one season has gone past without changes and improvements being made to its  structure.

A dream of vitality , constantly keeping up with the needs of our ever growing members.