GB seniors gearing up for FIP Euro outing

Monday (June 12th) sees the inaugural – and long-awaited – FIP European Senior/Super Senior tournament kick off in Alicante, Spain, with countries including GB and Ireland represented. Robert Mitchell has spoken to the ladies and men’s Team GB captains to get their views ahead of the tournament – and discovered that GB national team player Louie Harris’s father Grantley will donning a GB shirt for the first time. 

With just days until the draw for the first ever FIP European Senior & Super Senior Padel Championships, Team GB Ladies (super seniors) vice captain Sally Fisher has made Spain short-odds favourites.

The Spanish are led by padel icon Iciar Montes and will also feature a string of big names including Belen Castrillo and Nuria Montero.

Team GB are ranked seventh and will be in the second pot of seeds along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium – and Sally has no doubt that the superstar Spanish team are the side nobody will want in their group.

“Spain are very much the favourites, have an incredibly strong team throughout the age groups and have brought out some of their former World Padel Tour players,” said Sally. “They are captained by Iciar Montes, a former WPT world No 1, have Belen Castrillo who is another former world champion on multiple occasions and Nuria Montero. There is no doubt they are the team to beat.

“We also know that Italy, France and the Swedish, who are in the top four group, are very strong and probably with the Spanish are the four outstanding nations with the Netherlands also in there. Then there will be a cluster of other nations who will all be very tight. A lot will depend on Sunday night’s draw and who gets the second place in each group.”

A Team GB squad training session.

Controlling the controllable

The Ladies seniors will be captained by Tennis World Middlesbrough’s Libby Fletcher, with Dawn Foxhall vice-captain. Former Grand Slam tennis ace Jo Ward will coach the super seniors while playing for the seniors, with Sally vice-captain. She added: “There are a number of countries we haven’t seen play, especially at 60+ and 55+, but I think the seniors and super seniors teams will probably be left with two very different draws as there are different countries entered. We can only look to control the controllables, as Libby would say, and look to play our best game in each match.”


Top eight hopes for GB men

In the men’s competition Team GB manager Tim Edwards has warned of the dangers of the Dutch when the action kicks-off at Ciudad Deportiva Camilo Cano La Nucia. He said: “The top four teams – Spain, Sweden, France, and Italy – are seeded but the Netherlands, who are a very strong padel country now, are in the bottom bracket and anyone who lands them will struggle to make it into the top eight.

“Ideally GB want to stay top eight. Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Israel shouldn’t worry us too much, while we are similar to Portugal, Belgium and Germany, and they will all be tight matches with the Portuguese the strongest I’d say. We are under no illusions how tough it will be to stay top eight and we will trust in our hard work to keep us there.”

Brooks & Grantley

Former GB skipper John Leach is head coach to the men’s senior set-up whilst also playing in the 45+ category. Tim was bullish about the team’s depth of quality: “We have strong teams in each age category with Richard Brooks and John Leach and people like John Byrne, who starred for Scotland at the Six Nations and also Louie Harris’ father Grantley in our ranks. Obviously we want to avoid Spain but Sweden, France and Italy will all be tough. However everyone is excited to see what Sunday night’s draw has in store and whoever we get we will be going on court to give it our absolute best.”