Jersey welcomes padel internationals to the island

Jersey recently played host to what it believes to be one of the largest padel tournaments staged in the UK.

Ninety-eight players from across Europe pitched up for the Grade 1 LTA Padel National Tour event at Island Padel in St Clement, with the majority battling for a share of a record-breaking £6,000 prize pot.

Three out of the four finals were decided via a championship tiebreak as some of GB’s top-ranked padel stars were put to the test, passing with flying colours. 

Top seeds Louie Harris and Chris Salisbury sailed to victory in the men’s open draw – beating Rafael Otaolaurruchi and Spanish semi-professional Alvaro Pecos along the way – while top spot in the women’s draw went to Rosalie Van Der Hoek and British number one Tia Norton.

Helen Crook and Jo Ward dropped just one game on their way to the women’s 40+ final, where they beat Louise Baker and Karen Hunter 6-2, 6-2, and home hopefuls Bero Bobus and Jon Southern were denied by Ali Anderson and Craig Da Silva in the men’s senior showdown.

International feel

Tournament organiser Morgan Jubb said: “We played more than 120 matches during the weekend and had a very positive response from the local and international players. We had players from Spain, Belgium, Holland, the Canary Islands…the list goes on and that’s amazing. We had a lot more of an international competition than last year.

“In the ladies open we had Tia and Rosalie – a very strong pairing who are looking to move up to that next level of international padel. They were the favourites and even though it was quite a strong final they won reasonably convincingly.”

Tia and Rosalie receiving their winners' prizes

Tia and Rosalie beat top seeds Helen Crook and Jo Ward – GB women’s 40+ number one pairing – in the semi-finals, having opened their account at the Rathbones-backed tournament against Channel Island duo Jolien Borrenberghs (Jersey) and Chloe de la Mare (Guernsey), who at just 13 years old, is tipped to be a future local padel star.

After the event Tia said: “With it being my first time in Jersey it will be memorable. Seeing the passion for padel, and the community that has been created on this island, gives me great belief the sport is expanding exactly as it should be! I’m very pleased to have secured the win and have plans to be returning next year. The hospitality of the club and hosts made the trip and experience that even bit better and I can’t thank them enough for taking great care of us and holding such an incredible event!”

Men's Open winners Chris and Louie

Meanwhile, Louis Harris and Chris Salisbury were in fine form, adding to their Tour tally with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-3 victory over the Spanish pairing Guillermo Closa and Bernat Oriol.

“It was a fantastic final,” added Morgan. “It went to one set all and then in the championship tiebreak fitness started to tell for the Spanish guys. The match was watched by close to 200 people… it really was a well-supported community event.

“The over-40 categories had a lot more local flavour to it. In the men’s our top hope, Bero Bobus and Jon Southern, were beaten in the final by a much better team but I think everyone was just happy to have such a big tournament being played here.”

Chris said: “It was the first time for me playing in Jersey and first time partnering with Louie (Harris). The whole event could not have been better, the sun was out, the food was great and good crowds turned up throughout, creating a lively atmosphere all weekend.

“We were so happy to have got the win as both the semi and final were tough games against Spanish opponents, especially the final where we were a set and a break down. We were proud of how we fought back and found our best when we needed it most. Looking forward to coming back next year!” 🎾