IC Council News

Juan Maria Tintoré

On 5 February 2020, the International Club (IC), the tennis world, and the great sporting city of Barcelona, lost one of its great statesmen.

Juan Maria Tintoré was 92. He wanted to live the longest possible life because Juan Maria, President of the IC of Spain, always had things to do. One of those great projects was the IC’s Potter Cup - an annual event where the world’s best veteran players (men over 45 and women over 40) come to Barcelona for a long weekend to play the best veterans’ tennis on clay anywhere in the world. These players, hundreds of them over a period of nearly 50 years, play in Barcelona’s Potter Cup, not for financial reward, nor because they will win points to improve their rankings, but for the love of a game, played hard but in the spirit of friendship, and immersed in a glorious hospitality that is the trademark of the Potter Cup, of Barcelona, and of Juan Maria himself. The 2020 edition of the Potter Cup is already over-subscribed.

If Juan Maria asked you to do something, you did it. There was nothing he liked better than the democracy of a committee that came to the decision he wanted it to! He fought hard for the survival of something he knew was good: the Potter Cup had the prestige it needed to persuade the two great tennis clubs of Barcelona to host: the men’s event at the Real Cub de Polo de Barcelona, and the newer women’s event at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899, the Club where Juan Maria was President for many years, and where the Potter Cup's gala dinner is held. For Juan Maria, the Potter Cup needed to be run as well as Barcelona’s Trofeo Conde de Godó (the ATP 500 Barcelona Open BancSabadell), where every year a press conference is held by the Tournament, the two great Barcelona Clubs, the Catalan Federation and the IC to announce the Potter Cup and to publicise the IC Philanthropy clinic run during the Potter Cup by Sergi Bruguera's wonderful charity.

Juan Maria knew too that the survival of the International Club, and its values, depended on the willingness of the best Clubs in the world to host the IC’s events. It was important to him that these prestigious Clubs were also aware of the significance of the traditions that bound them together; and Juan Maria guided, hands-on as always, the creation of the Centenary Clubs network. That work began in Barcelona where he built a wonderful bridge between the two great Barcelona clubs that are so important to the Potter Cup.

Juan Maria wasn’t stuck in the past. He was at the forefront of making sure that Spanish tennis had depth. He was a great supporter of the ITF and the players organisations, ATP and WTA.  More tournaments for juniors and seniors in Spain meant more wild cards for Spanish players, he once told me sagely and with a smile: that’s how you created depth in Spanish tennis.

He was also in the vanguard of shaking the old tennis world by taking it to new frontiers, very much in the travelling spirit of the IC: to Sarajevo immediately after the bitter war in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and to Beijing as relations thawed with the capitalist west. He brought news of these projects, places and peoples to the Executive Committee of the IC at its meetings in Paris.

Juan Maria was a man of great personal charm and kindness. He was devoted (as we all are) to his wife, Berti, and to their large family, to whom we send our condolences. At their giant revolving round table in their family home in Mallorca, crowded with their own children and grandchildren, somehow there was always room for guests - and, of course, for their guests' children. Our children stood amazed as Juan Maria, then already in his late eighties, rowed his boat out to into the Balearic Sea every morning with a determination that marked everything he did.

We, especially those who have played in the Potter Cup, are now the guardians of Juan Maria’s legacy. May he Rest in Peace.

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