Exclusive: Tia Norton’s big dream and her mission to spread the padel message
It is a sport that is gathering momentum at a rapid pace around the world, with Tia Norton leading the charge for a padel revolution in the UK.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is a huge fan of the sport and even has his own range of padel rackets, with former Chelsea captain John Terry and Swedish soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic also regular padel players.
With A-list backing in abundance, padel has been described as a cross between tennis and squash that is played on a court surrounded by a heavy-duty glass that allows players to hit the ball after it bounces off the wall.
Padel’s breakthrough moment in the UK came when the Lawn Tennis Association took padel under its wing in November 2020, opening up the prospect of tennis clubs across the country gaining grants to build padel courts to go alongside their existing facilities.
Now padel is being boosted by rising stars like teenager Norton, who spoke to Tennis365 in her role as a Game4Padel ambassador.
“Padel is essentially tennis and squad as the same sport,” Tia told us. “It’s so fun, it’s easy to play and one of the best things compared to tennis is you don’t have to run after the ball.
“It is so accessible to everyone and that is one of the main reasons why people love it so much. I can’t tell you how many people who’ve said to me it is so much more fun than anything they have played before, so it has huge potential for growth.”
Now the sport that has been huge in Spain and Argentina is going global, with the Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain revealing plans earlier this month to put their considerable financial weight behind a new padel world tour that could take the game into the homes of millions around the globe.
“Once people get more of an understanding of the game, they will get more interest,” added Tia. “There are clips online, snippets of points, but they don’t know about the game or the rules. So once we get it on TV, it will be a big moment for the sport.
“Having the Qatari’s involved opens up a whole new world of opportunity for padel. They have unlimited amounts of money, so if they want to do something big with padel, they definitely have the opportunity to do it now.”
In part two of our exclusive interview with Game4Padel ambassador Tia Norton, we will look at her ambitions in the sport and how to become a professional padel player.
Matteo Berrettini outlines his career goals and legacy
Matteo Berrettini is here for a good time not a long time.
Roger Federer set for Wimbledon return as talks reach advanced stage
Roger Federer reported to be in talks to join the BBC commentary team at Wimbledon this summer.
Ryan Peniston on fighting back from cancer and his glorious summer
Ryan Peniston had to overcome more than most to realise his dreams.
Novak Djokovic labelled strongest and least loved of the big three
Novak Djokovic is feared more than loved.
Dan Evans owns ‘hardest loss to take’ in Davis Cup tie against Colombia
Britain were handed the nightmare trip after failing to qualify for the quarter-finals last year.
Casper Ruud out to emulate Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem
Casper Ruud believes he can win on any surface.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina begs Wimbledon to maintain ban on Russian and Belarusian players
Elina Svitolina has begged Wimbledon to maintain the ban.
Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open win was a ratings flop for American TV
ESPN have released their viewing figures for the Australian Open final and they suggest just 439,000 viewers watched in America.
Felix Auger-Aliassime backed to win Wimbledon in 2023
Felix Auger-Aliassime has been backed to make his Grand Slam breakthrough in 2023.
Serena Williams opens up on Will Smith’s Oscar slap
Serena Williams says that we are all human and make mistakes in the heat of the moment.