HOP finals crown 2023 winners

Nikhil Mohindra has described his victory in the adidas HOP PRO finals with new partner Jamie Eccleton as a ‘relentless’ success which can help them become the dominant domestic pairing in 2024. RJ Mitchell reports.

The GB international and New Zealand born Eccleton defeated top-seeded Frankie Langan and Nick Hatchett 6-4, 6-2 in a high quality final which hinged on a rollercoaster first set.

With the Mohindra and Eccleton partnership only put together two months ago, this high profile victory has left the Anglo/Kiwi duo mighty ‘hoppy’ after finishing 2023 on a real high.

Nikhil told The Bandeja: “I just felt we were relentless. We won the semi-final 6-0, 6-2 and in the final we just didn’t give them any space to breathe in the second set.

“We have played against top GB players and it has gone really well, Jamie has a top tennis background from New Zealand but he has been here for ages now and we have just really gelled. We’ve beaten Chris (Salisbury) and Alfonso (Patacho) and Sam (MacNeil) and Nick (Hatchett) recently and now Frankie and Nick.

“We won NTC at the end of October in a Grade Two which was our first tournament together. I have known Jamie for a while and I just loved his style of play. We are undefeated, so it’s going really well.

“Personally next year I want to break the top-200, retain my place in the GB national team but also see where this partnership can go.

“So, fingers crossed we will be playing more together in 2024. We have only played two tournaments together and won them both so hopefully we can build on that next year and become a real force.”

Jamie Eccleton and Nikhil Mohindra (left) and Nikhil hits the decks with the final’s DJ.

This was the third year of the HOP Tour and, with the first two finals days being held at Chelsea Harbour Club, it was the first to be staged outside the capital at Slough’s The Padel Hub, which proved an excellent new host.

For Nikhil it was certainly a day to remember and one that proved how popular the adidas HOP Tour has become with the pros: “For me adidas HOP is the best tournament platform in the UK and the organisation is superb so huge credit to John Leach and Javi Serrats for all of that.

“But also to Charles (Winterton) at The Padel Hub for making us all feel so welcome. It was just a great day and not just from the competitive aspect but also a really social one.

“For us, especially as we were underdogs with Jamie not in the GB Team or squad and us being a new partnership, we are just delighted with the win.”

Aimee Gibson and Tia Norton

Norton/Gibson victory

Meanwhile the UK’s two top-ranked female players Aimee Gibson and Tia Norton claimed victory in the women’s final via a 6-4 6-3 victory over Lisa Phillips and Sophia Haine.

For Tia this success was built on a determination to enjoy the event, win or lose, as she explained: “It was a tournament that we both went into wanting to have some fun and enjoy it. It’s been a long year and we took that onto the court and that led us to the victory. We really enjoyed the tournament and it was a great finals day and nice to have all the top players over the year together.”

In the adidas HOP Tour event there was victory for Tommy Cartlege and Bradley Burnett-Smith against exciting teenage talents Oscar Warneryd and Bradley Brown, who followed up their recent victory in the first ever adidas HOP Youth event with another strong campaign.

Reflecting on a fantastic finale to this year’s adidas HOP Tour, HOP co-founder John Leach said: “For sure this has been a big step up. Firstly because we had a larger field but also the venue allowed us to be a bit more elaborate.

“I must record a huge thanks to Charles at Padel Hub, he has been a great guy to work with and he helped make the event the success it undoubtedly was. As a finals it was just a great day socially with our event announcer Emily (Kilner) awesome and the DJ going down well.

“In terms of the padel the quality was extremely high in each of the three events and congrats to all of our winners – Nikhil and Jamie in the men’s, Aimee and Tia in the women’s and Tommy and Bradley in the HOP Tour.”

With the calendar for next year’s tour being worked on already the fourth instalment of the HOP Tour is anticipated to start at the end of February 2024. 🎾