Tia’s on-court date with padel great
It’s week three of GB No 1 Tia Norton’s Pro Padel League campaign in the US, playing for the Las Vegas Smash team. They go into this weekend joint second with Arkansas Matrix and San Diego Stingrays, all one point behind leaders Miami Padel Club. It’s a big day for Tia, facing one of her padel heroes – former World No 1 Marta Marrero. RJ Mitchell reports.
Tia has pronounced herself match ready for her meeting with Marta when Las Vegas Smash face Miami Padel Club in today’s third round of the US Professional Padel League fixtures.
After three matches Las Vegas are sitting joint second just a point behind their unbeaten opponents, but with Tia and partner Ana De La Pena facing a date with a true padel icon the ultimate test of their own unbeaten record awaits.
Marta was also once a quarter-finalist in the French Open tennis championships and reached a career high of 47 in the WTA rankings. At just 40 years of age, having only taken padel up in 2015 and ranked No 1 in 2019, she is not far off her best.
None of which is lost on Tia: “The opportunity to play against a legend like Marta does not come along that often, although just a couple of weeks ago I was playing Cata Tenorio who is another great of the game. It’s all just amazing really. I trained at Marta’s academy in Barcelona last year which was brilliant, so I am really excited about this opportunity to be playing against her. These opportunities are just fantastic and really add an extra dimension to playing in the PPL. It won’t be an easy match but we believe we are ready.”
Looking back at last weekend’s action Tia said: “We played Saturday and Sunday against Toronto and then Cancun and I was pleased to win both my matches. In the game with Cancun it went to a deciding mixed tie. Palila played that and we were unfortunate to lose it 10-8 in the Champions tie-break so we lost the tie which was really frustrating. But overall at the halfway stage we have won two matches and lost one very close one so that is not too bad.”
Turning her attention to another demanding double-header weekend the GB No 1 said: “Miami have won all three of their ties and will be a tough cookie to crack but we are really looking forward to the match today. On Sunday we play San Diego and I think they have won two and lost one and are in the same situation as us. So it is all to play for. Then we have one more weekend of the round robin matches and it’s the final weekend of semis and finals so I am half way through the trip now which is all a bit surreal. It has been a fantastic experience and our team has bonded very well but we have also come together with the other teams off court and it is just a great environment to play padel in.”