Updated: May 5
THERE is one competitor in this weekend’s Game4Padel Tour LTA Regional tournament for whom entry represents a lucky break.
Essex’s Ethan Bardo (pictured on left, with GB international Nikhil Mohindra) suffered a horrific accident earlier this year when his foot got trapped in the net while attempting to put away a smash rebound and he landed flush on his wrist and was consumed in a vortex of agony. Yet there was one saving grace for the GB ranked No.18 padel ace – the subsequent fracture was on his non-playing left wrist.
Now this weekend’s Edinburgh Park LTA Grade 3 event will represent Ethan’s first foray back into competitive action and for him that is confirmation that his heartbreak in Harrogate has turned out to be a lucky break.
Ethan shared: “I was playing in the quarter-finals of the Grade 1 at Harrogate back in February with Toby Bawden against Louie Harris and Sam Jones when it happened at the end of the first set.
“Basically, Louie hit a smash and I ran to the net to try and finish the point but it was at a slight angle so as I jumped up my legs went under the net and my foot got caught on the net cord and I toppled over the net and landed flush on my left wrist.
“John Leach (GB Men’s National Coach) got it all on film and I think it has around 5000 views on Tik Toc and Insta so that was nice of him! Although looking back it’s quite funny, at the time it was a sore one. It was also the first time my girlfriend Abi had come to watch me and she saw it all so that was awesome – not!
“Afterwards I went back to the hotel and I was in shock and was really cold and fatigued and then I fell asleep but the next day I was straight to A&E and luckily, I was seen within 45 minutes and diagnosed with a massive fracture and a small break and then it was a six-week recovery process.
“I was put in a small plaster cast but thankfully after four weeks I was fully recovered and from that point of view the G3 at Edinburgh Park this weekend is the perfect way to get back into competing but also having a bit of fun.
“I haven’t played any Grade One or Grade Two tournaments since the accident so Edinburgh is the perfect way to ease back in at a Grade Three and then the plan is to play Guernsey in a couple of weeks’ time.”
But the trip to the Scottish capital has another attraction for the Prested Tennis Club padel ace and Ethan added: “I have a few friends up in Edinburgh and I am just looking forward to catching up with them over the weekend.
My playing partner Tim (Wise) is a very good friend and plays at my club and I also coach him so it will be good fun. Also, I have never played in Edinburgh before but from what I hear it is a beautiful city and this is the perfect opportunity to do some sight-seeing around it.”
Ethan, who has been ranked as high as No.15 in the GB rankings, and padel pal Tim will take the court against the all-Spanish pairing of Luis Alejandro De La Caba Medina and Antonio Fernandez-Llebrez Martin in the opening round on Sunday morning.
The Essex dark horse combo of Bardo and Wise are also in the same section as No.2 seeded David Holmes and Sammy McKinney in the lower half of the draw while the Grade Three’s top seeds Stuart Alexander and Mathias Kupiec open against Kevin Brocklehurst and Chris McCallum.
But while this may be the first step of his competitive rehabilitation Ethan admits he has a long-term target: “It’s been tough, especially when they told me six weeks out, and my confidence has taken a hit but now I am back in the swing of things and earlier this week I had a really good training session at Maldon with Jake Bewley and I’m good to go and really looking forward to Edinburgh.
“It would have been an awful lot worse if I’d broken my right (playing) wrist. Okay my ranking has dropped a bit towards the bottom of the top-20 but a good performance at ‘EP’ this weekend could help the comeback and send me back towards the top-10 where I want to be by the end of the year.
“It’s a huge ambition of mine to play for GB and Edinburgh Park is hopefully the first step back towards achieving that dream but first Tim and I are determined to bring it back to England!”
On Saturday morning in the Women’s Grade Three event at Thistle Tennis and Padel, No.1 seeds Fiona Livingston and Desni McIntosh open against Mary Rose Brennan and Lorna Nicholl and the second seeded Iria Del Rio and Ashley Mears will face Elaine Easton and Christine Hobden.
Karen Crawford and Mary Crease will open their ‘EP’ campaign in the second round of fixtures.