TIA NORTON is hoping that her role as a Game4Padel ambassador will allow her to satisfy a burning ambition.
For the Great Britain No.1 is desperate to reprise the role once made famous in tennis by Amelie Mauresmo and, in a padel context, offer some coaching help to Sir Andy Murray.
The first tennis knight of the realm is also a Game4Padel ambassador, and investor, but so far, due to conflicting schedules, the two have not met and now Norton is hoping that when the opportunity does arise she might offer some valuable tips that will help the former World No.1 on the padel court.
Norton, who will spearhead the home challenge at the FIP RISE London Padel Open tournament at the National Tennis Centre later this week, where she is seeded No.1 with Spanish partner Carla Fito Fernández, is a keen tennis fan and was in attendance at Wimbledon earlier this summer to watch World No.1 Iga Świątek in action.
Taking time off from her preparations for what will be the first fully professional padel event in the UK, Norton revealed her secret ambition: “First of all I am delighted and excited to be a Game4Padel ambassador and on the journey with the company,” said the GB No.1 padel player.
Tia continued: “I haven’t met Andy Murray yet but I’d really love to get on the court with him and for sure it would be an honour to play alongside Sir Andy and see if I could make a difference! I know that at one point he was coached by Amelie Mauresmo and I’d love to give him a couple of tips if I get the opportunity to hit with him.
“My first racket sport was tennis and there is a lot of power used in it but in padel it is more about the placement of shots and the tempo change and that is the most important thing. You can use power but you have to have soft hands and you have to know when to use the one or the other.
“When you look at the touch and feel Andy Murray has on the tennis court I am sure he will be a natural when it comes to playing padel.
“On a personal note, it’s an honour for me to be joining such huge names coming into padel from tennis. It was great to meet my fellow Game4Padel ambassadors Annabel Croft and Andrew Castle, and also when you look at Laura Robson playing in the FIP RISE London Padel Open this week it shows how attractive padel is to even the top tennis players.”
Looking forward to the action about to unfold at the NTC, hosted by the LTA, Norton admitted the FIP RISE London Open is a pivotal moment for the sport here.
The Great Britain international said: “I think padel this last year has shown good growth in the UK in terms of the number of tournaments being played and the numbers of those competing in them, but having an international FIP tournament at a place like the NTC is going to do nothing but good for the sport. It is a key step forward for padel.
“I also think it will really show people around the world how strongly padel is growing in the UK and I am just really looking forward to playing the event with Carla who is my regular partner and is the girl I train with and live with in Barcelona.
“We have been playing on the World Padel Tour together this year and in Valencia we have had a couple of good wins recently before losing a tough match in a third-set decider against a pairing we beat in a previous tournament.
“Although that was frustrating it was a really gruelling match and one that will stand us in good stead for the matches ahead this week at the NTC.
“We are seeded No.1 for this tournament but there are some very strong pairings and there is no question it will be tough to win the title but that is what we are here for ultimately.”
Tia joined Game4Padel as an ambassador last November and has no doubt about the importance of the company’s key role in developing padel in the UK: “I have been an ambassador since 2021 and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m excited to be with a company that has clear and ambitious plans for the UK.
“The other important factor is that Game4Padel’s courts are very high quality. I have played on plenty of padel courts and some are not as good as others in terms of bounce and consistency but Game4Padel courts are as good as they get.
“Really the work that Game4Padel is doing is changing the game for those of us who play padel – taking it to another level and that is vital. But also in building the courts and training great coaches, they are creating opportunities for so many people to enjoy the game. So I am very proud to be working with them and sharing in that journey of growing padel in the UK.”