‘El mundo unidos por el deporte’ – ‘The world united by sport’

Great Britain Junior Padel Team gives stunning performance at World Championships in Malaga

 

The XI World Juniors Padel Championships Opening Ceremony saw all the teams parade into the El Candado Beach Club arena, with National flags held aloft as the sun began to set.

GB Team Captain Frankie Batt was honoured to say the players’ oath in English at the ceremony, whilst Spain’s number one did the same in Spanish. Then the teams from all over the world took part in a multinational team hug world record attempt on the beach.

Play began on Monday with the Open Competition in the morning and Boys Team competition in the afternoon. Sean Neave and his partner Sam Jones won their match, as did Frankie and his partner Alfonso Patacho. Ben Burgess and Henry Marais playing in their first ever Championship match lost to an amazing Spanish pair. In the girls Under 14 Open Tilly Payne, and Charlotte Brien were also beaten, but put on a great show for GB.

Both the boys and girls had tough draws in the Team competition, with the boys having to play Portugal and Mexico, and the girls Portugal and Spain, who are the current World Champions. In the Boys Team event that afternoon Ben Burgess and partner Miguel Patacho began well against Portugal, but eventually lost 6 – 4, 6 – 1 to a more experienced Portuguese pair. The Under 16s Sean Neave and Louie Harris and the Under 18s Frankie Batt and Sam Jones also lost, meaning GB would have to win the match against a strong Mexican team the following day to have any chance of qualifying from their group.

The next day there were further wins at Under 18s and Under 16s for the boys in the Open Competition. In the girls Open event the girls Tia Norton and Zuzka Patacho put on a great show. They made it through to the quarter finals of the Under 16s beating Brazil but loosing against Spain, the seeded number one pair.

The Girls Team competition began with Tilly and Charlotte facing the current World Champions in a court packed around with spectators and TV cameras! The girls did their best and were cheered by everyone when they won a point, but were overpowered by the amazing Spanish pair. The Under 16 and Under 18 girls also made GB proud, but the Spanish team are absolutely brilliant, and a real privilege to play against.

The boys then faced Mexico, who they had to beat to have a chance of a medal. It didn’t begin well with Ben and Miguel playing an Under 14 pair who hadn’t dropped a game. They lost 6 – 0, 6 – 0, so Sean and partner Louie had to win. They did it in two sets, 6 – 2, 7 – 6 (tie break) with an amazing performance.

So it was all down to the last match – Frankie and Sam had to play Mexico’s number one player and his partner. The quality of the padel was fantastically high, and the match turned into an amazingly tense three set battle. GB lost the first set in a tie break, but in a nail-biting end to the match won it 6 – 2, 6 – 3. A magnificent performance by Frankie and his partner Sam meant GB boys went through second in their group, and faced hosts and Current World Champions Spain in the next round.

The girls’ match against team Portugal was mixed with the Under 16 pair Tia and Zuzka winning their match, but the Under 14 and Under 18s losing. This means they faced USA next, who they beat, so ended up playing Belgium for 7th place on the last day. After fantastic performances from all the team, they lost the match in the third set, therefore placed 8th in the world.

The boys had a really tough time against Spain. They played on the main show court, against the best in the world, sadly losing all three matches but performing at a really high level. They then met Uruguay very late on Friday night, beating them in some very tense matches. The final day of the Championship they played Brazil, losing two matches to one, and ending up 6th in the world.

The motto of this Championship is ‘El mundo unidos por el deporte’ – ‘The World united by sport’. All the teams taking part have shown the upmost respect for each other on the court, and been sociable and helpful off of it. Worldwide friendships were made between countries’ players, coaching staff and supporters. It has been a truly amazing experience for everyone.

The GB Junior Padel team would like to thank their coach Mauri Andrini, and his assistant Christian Medina Murphy, British Padel, and all their partners and sponsors for their support throughout the Championship. Thank you to:

Our Partners: AdidasBabolat, and PadelShack
Our Sponsors: 
La Reserva SotograndeSotogrande International School, Bristow Property Group – Sotogrande, Abbeygate Insurance, Tailor Made Healthcare solutions and Udesign.