CONGRATULATIONS to this weekend's winners at the the Baillie Gifford East of Scotland Padel Open, held at Thistle Tennis & Padel Club.
The No. 1 seeds in the Men’s Doubles, Philip Blythe and Ross Murdoch made it through to the final without dropping a set. However unseeded duo David Holmes and Sammy McKinney, who had surprised the second seeded Picken brothers, Gavin, and Mark, in the semis, provided firm resistance before going down 7-5, 7-6.
In the consolation event Eduardo
Alonso Fernandez and
Antonio Fernandez-Llebrez Martin
defeated Joseph Gill and Sean Smith in straight sets.
Meanwhile in the Women’s Championships, No.2 seeds Wendy McKenzie and Mhairi Wrench pipped top-ranked Karen Crawford and Michelle Crease on a third set Champions tie-break 10-4 to claim the LTA Grade Three Ladies event in dramatic fashion.
Anne-Marie Birch and Anita Houston took third place after picking up two victories while the match of the tournament saw Mary Diaz and Daphne Ruben claim an epic three-set victory over Elaine Easton and Christine Hobden 10-7 on the Champions tie-break to take fourth place.
Game4Padel’s Growth & Participation Director was on site to take in the action over the weekend in Edinburgh and was highly impressed by the quality on show in the men’s and women’s LTA Grade Three event.
With the East of Scotland Open being the first tennis tournament in Scotland to incorporate an open padel event within its framework, Vincent had no doubt that the weekend has provided the perfect example of how padel and tennis can work together.
He said: “The finals of the Baillie Gifford East of Scotland Padel Open were a great example of how padel and tennis can work hand in hand in Scotland and this weekend was a fantastically positive step.
“All four players in the (men’s) final compete in the highest division of the East of Scotland (tennis) leagues and are also regular padel players and as a result the level was really high – just as it was in the women’s event. But what impressed me most was that most players are now able to ‘switch off’ their tennis brains to use more efficient padel tactics.
“Over all the tournament has been a significant move to opening up padel to a new community and that is exactly what we were looking for in our collaboration with East of Scotland Tennis.”
Reflecting on all of this East of Scotland Tennis vice president Mark Gaffney believes that the first ever East of Scotland Padel Open has heralded in an exciting new era for both padel and tennis.
Mark said: “Partnering up with Game4Padel has been a really positive step for us in them bringing their expertise, and being able to host it at the Thistle Club at the Game4Padel facility was really exciting and we were glad of being able to tap into both and continue to grow our relationship with Game4Padel through this.
“As a board we are always determined to innovate and bring new stuff to the table as far as the East of Scotland Championships go and we were really keen now that padel has come under LTA governance that we were able to offer the same competitive opportunities for padel players as for tennis players.
“To be the first tournament in Scotland to incorporate a padel open event as part of a Grade Three tennis tournament has been really exciting for us.”
Mark was also very impressed with the quality of play in both events and he said: “The standard was great and there were some very familiar names from tennis who turned their hands to padel very successfully and congratulations to Ross Murdoch and Philip Blythe on their victory and also to David Holmes and Sammy McKinney in pushing them all the way in a superb final.
“Also to Wendy McKenzie and Mhairi Wrench on their victory in the ladies event which also had a superb finale in their game with Karen Crawford and Michelle Crease in the form of a Champions tie- break decider.
“But to get 13 pairs of players over both the men’s and ladies’ events was really positive and we hope to grow this again for next year.”
A padel enthusiast himself Mark has little doubt that the sport is not only here to stay but will also go from strength to strength in Scotland and he added: “I know many sports claim to be the fastest-growing in the UK but in this respect padel really is the real deal and a big thanks to everyone who took part and made the first Baillie Gifford East of Scotland Open padel championships such a success.
“I also love to play padel and if we add a Grade Four event on for next year I might well look to compete myself!”