LTA’s first pro padel event in Great Britain a major success as Tia Norton and Carla Fito Fernandez win big
Great Britain’s No 1 padel player Tia Norton delivered big at the LTA’s first professional padel event in the UK, the London Padel Open, as she won the women’s title alongside Carla Fito Fernandez while Bram Meijer and Sten Richters won the men’s final.
Norton and Fito Fernandez were seeded second for the first-ever tournament at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre and they held off fourth seeds Wendy Barsotti and Elodie Invernon 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in the semi-final in two hours to book their spot in the showpiece event.
Up against top seeds Maaike Betz and Natalia Sanz Garcia in the final, the British-Spanish combination proved too strong as they won 7-5, 6-1 in just one hour.
“To come away with a win from this tournament is absolutely incredible,” Norton said. “We played a really good tournament and were really happy overall how we competed. We came into the tournament with no expectations, every tournament we go match by match and here we are with a win at the end of it.
“The venue itself is absolutely incredible. The LTA have held such an incredible event, so I want to thank them for putting on such a great organisation, and of course to come away with a win at such a professional event, the first professional event in the UK. It’s always nice winning on home turf but this one feels a little bit special.”
The unseeded Meijer and Richters 6-2, 6-3 were the surprise winners on the men’s side as they first beat British No 1 Christian Medina Murphy and partner Javier Navarro Perez in the last four before upsetting fifth seeds Bastien Blanque and Jose Jiminez Casas 7-6, 6-3 in the final.
The London Padel Open was part of the Cupra FIP (International Padel Federation) Tour and the tournament was launched as the LTA look to capitalise in the rise of the sport of padel – a cross between tennis and squash – over the past few years with more than 89,000 active padel players and 200 courts across the country.
Tom Murray, Head of Padel at the LTA, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Tia’s win. I never doubted her and had a feeling she might pull this one off.
“It’s unfortunate that both Hansie Ruddick and then Christian Medina Murphy in the men’s both lost in their respective semi-finals matches because it would’ve been fantastic to have more Brits in the finals.
“The overall feedback from the players has been second to none and are congratulating us on a great event and asking when our next tournament is so they can fit it into their calendars.”
The 18 players to finish as ATP year-end No 1 as Novak Djokovic extends his amazing record
There have been 28 players who have reached the pinnacle of the ATP Rankings, with five currently active.
Carlos Alcaraz’s pre-season schedule: Key dates ahead of 2024 Australian Open revealed
Here are Carlos Alcaraz’s plans ahead of the 2024 Australian Open.
‘Style icon’ Jannik Sinner’s big sponsors – A $158m Nike deal, Gucci’s statement of intent and more
Which brands are sponsoring rising star and “style icon” Jannik Sinner?
‘Novak Djokovic has separated himself from everybody based on the eye test and numbers’
A coaching legend feels two factors make Novak Djokovic the GOAT and discussed the Serb’s hunger.
‘Vulnerable Rafael Nadal is not a contender to win a Grand Slam in comeback’, claims coaching great
A coaching legend does not expect Rafael Nadal to add to his Grand Slam tally.
Carlos Alcaraz makes admission about Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal fans supporting him against Novak Djokovic
Carlos Alcaraz has discussed receiving extra support when he faces Novak Djokovic.
Jessica Pegula on Serena Williams’ retirement opening up the field, Coco Gauff’s Gen Z humour and more
“With Serena being out, it’s different,” says Pegula as she also joked about Gauff being “very Gen Z”.
Nick Kyrgios tells Piers Morgan ‘sometimes you are a bit of d***’ in interview teaser
It’s Nick Kyrgios v Piers Morgan in an interview that will no doubt deliver plenty of talking points.
Novak Djokovic fans not happy as world No 1 misses out on award nominations
Novak Djokovic is a notable absentee for the 2023 ATP Awards for sportsmanship.