In memoriam: Juan Maria Tintoré

CTC Founder Juan Maria Tintoré Turull was born in Barcelona on March 9, 1927. He was born into a family of entrepreneurs, with a strong sense of responsibility. The Spanish Civil War was a painful interlude, with the family relocating to Varezze, Italy. ‎After returning to Spain, Juan Mª was educated at Jesuitas of Sarria, followed by university in Barcelona where he took a PhD in Textile Engineering. He took the values of his father and his school, essentially those of Christian humanism, and applied these throughout his life.

From 1952 onwards, he had a successful and varied career in business. He was a director of a successful real estate business, and president of an insurance company. He was also a member of the Textile Board, with a particular interest in wool exports (and represented Spain at an international wool conference).

In 1955 he married Berti Belil and they were happily married for 64 years. Together they had six children Juan Mº, Xavier, Enrique, Berta, Alberto Santiago. He managed to successfully combine his professional life with his passion for family and a strong commitment to public service.

INTERNATIONAL TENNIS
He was Champion of Catalonia in the third category and in 1950 was also champion of his university, the University of Catalunya. As a young man, he was invited by the then President of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 (RCTB), Count Godó, to join the board, and served from 1949 to 1951. During this time, he worked on the club's change of location, from Ganduxer to the site in Pedralbes where it remains to the day. As a player, he represented the club at tournaments in Oxford, Paris, Geneva and Lyon. In 1974, he was asked by the then President of the Spanish Tennis Federation to represent the RCTB at their annual assembly. Shortly afterwards, he became Vice President and Treasurer of the Federation (and was later on, from 1990-2004, the Federation's Honorary Auditor). In turn, he was chosen to represent Spain at Tennis Europe, and was elected to its executive committee in 1981. At Tennis Europe, he was responsible for the European Davis Cup competitions as well as the organization of the King's Cup, a European team tournament. Among other roles, he chaired the European Seniors' Tennis Committee, and for a period also oversaw the Anti- Doping Committee. When Pablo Llorens was appointed Vice-President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 1979, Juan Mª was appointed representative of Spain at the ITF. Realizing that more tournaments for juniors and seniors in Spain meant more wild cards for Spanish players, he took responsibility for expanding the tournament roster in Spain. He strongly believed that this was the way to create real depth in Spanish Tennis, and the success of numerous Spanish players in the years since is testimony to this conviction.

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In 1985 he was elected president of the International Club of Spain. Working closely with the Catalunya Delegate of Sports, Mr. Josep Lluis Vilaseca, he oversaw moving the venue of the Potter Cup from Biarritz to Barcelona. The Potter Cup is an annual International Clubs event where the world’s best senior players (for men aged 45 & Over and women 40 & Over) compete on clay.

RCTB-1899 PRESIDENT
In 1993 he became President of RCTB1899 and continued in this role until 2008. Recognising the importance of youth, he organised a walk with the young members of the club in Montserrat. He repeated this twenty-five years later when he stood down as club president. His extensive experience and knowledge of the game allowed him to put in a place a comprehensive programme of events, from grassroot initiatives to an international ATP tournament, strengthening ties between RCTB1899 and the city of Barcelona as well as the wider world. He oversaw various initiatives, from increasing centre court capacity for the ATP tournament to RCTB1899 ‎helping to nurture emerging players. He embraced artists to add lustre to the club's centenary celebrations - with a medal designed by Jose Mª Subirachs and a poster by Pere Stanton and Peret. He also wrote a history of the club with the help of Pere Hernandez. His horizons were always truly international. During his tenure as President of RCTB, he organised an inter-club competition in China, and participated in the Spanish-China forum in both Barcelona and Shanghai. In 2003, he travelled to Russia with the then Mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos, and signed a cooperation memorandum between RCTB and the Russian Tennis Federation..

SARAJEVO
In 1995, at the behest of ‎ Pasqual Maragall, Mayor of Barcelona, he became involved in the international efforts to rebuild Sarajevo. He realised that tennis could be an engine of help and hope for the young and put in place a plan to deliver on this, including the training of coaches. After travelling to Sarajevo for the first time in 1997, he saw an opportunity to create a unifying tournament, and the Open RCTB 1889 became a reality a year later. With his customary passion and commitment, he visited ‎Sarajevo more than 25 times and saw his tournament recognised with 'Category 1' status from Tennis Europe. Sarajevo remained especially close to Juan Mª‎ heart to the end of his life.  

CENTENARY TENNIS CLUBS ASSOCIATION
In 1996, Juan Mª founded and became President of the Centenary Tennis Clubs Association (CTC), a role in which he continued to serve until his passing. In this endeavour, as with others, he had the support of his friend, Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee and a true leader in the arena of international sport. As a result, CTC's had as its head office the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. Eight clubs came together to sign the founding act in front of the notary Jean François Rodondi, and in the presence of Juan Antonio Samaranch, Brian Tobin (then President of the ITF), as well as Robert Abdesselam and Marco Gilardelli, both councillors of the Association. In addition to Juan Mª‎ on behalf of RCTB1899 the following club representatives signed on behalf of their clubs: Philippe Washer and Alain Goudsmet, Royal Leopold of Brussels; Xavier de la Courtie, Racing Club de Tenis de Paris; Lars Myhrman; Kungl LTK of Stockholm; François Roch and Jean Pierre Hufschmid, Tennis Club Genève; Wolfgang Hofer, Rott Weiss of Berlin; Brian Harron, Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club; Enrico Cerutti, Tennis Club Milano Bonacossa. The IOC offered a perpetual trophy with a striking design - a hand and a racket - to be competed for by the founding clubs, with the venue rotating annually one club to another.

The initiative soon proved so successful that it had to be opened up to other clubs. Today the Association comprises seventy-eight affiliated clubs in twenty-four countries, on four continents. 

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RECOGNITION
Juan Mª was fortunate to receive many honours in recognition of his work, although he always stressed the role played by others. These honours included: Golden Achievement Award presented jointly by the ITF and International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008; Gold Medal from the city of Barcelona (Medalla d’or de la Cuitat de Barcelona) in 2008; Prize for best sports leader (Millor Dirigent de l’any) from the Catalan Association of Sports Leaders in 2009; an award from the Union of Sports Federations of Catalonia (Forjador de l’Esport Català) in 2010; Tennis Europe Award for services to European tennis in 2011; and recognition from the Fundación de Fomento Europeo in 2018. Juan Maria Tintoré Turull‎ passed away in Barcelona on 5 February 2020, aged 92. He left behind a notable legacy, not least the Centenary Tennis Clubs Association.

Read more: 'My friend, Juan Maria Tintoré', by Francesco Ricci Bitti.

Copyright 2010 The Association of Centenary Tennis Clubs. All rights reserved.