Jepson’s life-saving drama at Seniors World Champs

GB Seniors player Paul Jepson has shared the drama of how he became a real-life hero after saving a man’s life at this month’s FIP Seniors World Padel Championships in Alicante. Lee McLaughlan reports.

The 41-year-old, competing at his third Senior World Championships, was taking time out from the tournament to watch Manchester City’s Champions League game against Real Madrid with team-mates Nick Holloway and Mike Tolman when an elderly Spanish man collapsed to the floor.

Paul, a certified first aider and professional tennis coach for 20 years, explained how he went into autopilot, resuscitating the man before emergency medics arrived: “We were in a bar watching the match surrounded by a lot of Real Madrid fans when the gentleman at the next table just fell to the floor by me,” said Paul.

“It was all a bit surreal as no one knew what was happening and no-one really knew what to do. The man wasn’t breathing and was going grey so I went down and just began applying what I’ve learned. I did various checks and listened for any signs of breathing. 

“I did mouth-to-mouth CPR and he started to come round a little. He had little bit of colour and he’d opened his eyes. He still wasn’t very well but by then the emergency service had arrived to take over.”

Paul in action....on the padel court.

First aider

Paul, who coaches at Prestwich Cricket Tennis and Bowling Club and also Alkrington Tennis Club, both in Greater Manchester, admitted it was the first time he had had to use his first aid training, which is a requirement of being an LTA coach.

He added: “It’s quite ironic that this happened as I was only thinking recently that I will need to renew my first aid certificate this year, as it’s only valid for three years. It was a bit uncanny.”


FIP learning curve

As for the tournament at La Nucia, as a ‘veteran’ of two past championships, Paul was able to reflect on the team’s performance: “Myself and Ben Gudzelak have been to the last two, so we knew what the standard was like and what to expect.

“We were relying on a favourable draw to help us out, which sadly we didn’t get and that made it a lot more difficult. We got the Finns and losing 3-2 to them meant we were competing for 17th to 24th positions rather than in the middle section. I got to play in the match against Egypt and won the rubber that got us over the line.

“In the singles I played with Ross Murdoch, who isn’t my usual partner. We had a close three-setter in the first round. We were a set and 3-0 up but our rivals got on a run and we found it hard to stop their momentum.

“Despite the results, it was a good event overall and good learning curve for some of the guys who were competing in it for the first time.”