GB men & women heading to Euros
The countdown is on to the inaugural FIP Senior European Championships in Alicante, Spain, from June 12-17th. Sixteen national teams will compete in seniors categories of over 40 years, over 45 years and over 50 years. For Super Seniors age groups are over 50, over 55 and over 60. In addition there will be Open competitions, again divided by age categories. RJ Mitchell reports on the GB men’s and ladies teams heading to the tournament.
The Bandeja is delighted to share the squad selection (below) for Alicante, where GB will be represented in both the women’s and men’s competitions at senior and super seniors levels, with a rigorous selection process ensuring that the men’s squad of 12 seniors and 12 super seniors will be heading to Spain in fine fettle.
GB Seniors men’s manager Tim Edwards has described the FIP European Senior Championships as ‘the big one’.
He said: “The Europeans is the big one and we wanted the best men’s padel players in the country to be representing GB. We are going to Spain with a good mix of players who have played at these events before and with some who haven’t. Certainly for the latter to experience the quality of Spain, France and Italy’s players will be a great thing for their games.
“From the World Championships the men are seeded eighth and to repeat that would be excellent as countries like Holland and Finland didn’t play in the last World Championships. To finish in the second tier and stay in the top eight would be a good result for us,” added Tim.
Age is not a limitation but an opportunity
With former GB skipper John Leach, who is head coach to the men’s senior set -up, and GB international Richard Brooks in the +45 and +40 categories there is some exceptional fire power in the senior sides.
While the super seniors have some venerable names in the British game, including Game4Padel CEO Michael Gradon in the +60 and Rocks Lane founder Chris Warren in the +55 super seniors sides.
But Tim explained there was no ‘grace and favour’ policy in the selection process: “We set up a north, south and Scottish squad who have been training together and we had a session at We Are Padel, Derby, two weeks back which was very useful.
Meanwhile Ladies seniors vice-captain Sally Fisher saluted the role of LTA Padel Performance Manager Matt Stanforth and National Seniors Coach Nigel Garton in the ladies’ selection process. She said: “We are very grateful to Matt and Nigel as independent chair and lead respectively of our selection panel.
“It is the first year the LTA has been actively involved in the selection of the seniors and we were using the new selection criteria the LTA agreed with the GB seniors selection panel. Matt was fantastic in supporting this process.
“We now have much more strength in depth than we had last year and everyone is improving their games at such a rapid pace. It is great to see and tough to keep up with! added Sally.
The ladies set-up is skippered by Tennis World Middlesbrough’s Libby Fletcher, a former players’ coach at Wimbledon. It is understood that (particularly in the super seniors) there were some tight selection calls.
The ladies ranks are packed with elite level ex-tennis players – Jo Ward, Helen Crook and Karen Hunter all having competed in the main draw at Wimbledon while Dawn Foxhall has just won a wildcard to compete in the main draw of the upcoming Vienna WPT Open.
Sally added: “All the players have worked really hard to arrive in Alicante ready to be the best we can be and enjoy the experience of playing against and watching the top seniors padel players in Europe.”
The Europeans will follow a format of four teams per group with one seeded side all of which will be decided and drawn on day one. 🎾