GAME4PADEL ambassador Tia Norton has this morning woken to the knowledge that she is a history maker.
The Golden Girl of GB padel played a key role in helping secure the inaugural US Professional Padel League for Las Vegas Smash yesterday by winning the pivotal women’s doubles match along with partner Ana Paula De La Pena against Cancun Waves which helped pave the way to a 2-0 victory.
Last night’s seminal success was the culmination of a gruelling five-week campaign played in 35 -degree heat and 85% humidity at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center in Tampa, on Florida’s Sport Coast.
Speaking exclusively with Game4Padel last night, before attending the gala championship dinner, Tia – from Leamington Spa – acknowledged that winning the first ever US PPL was a unique triumph that can never be replicated.
Tia shared: “There will never be a first one again and we (Las Vegas Smash) have won it so I guess we are history makers and it’s not something we will take lightly.
“It has been a huge honour to represent Las Vegas these last five weeks and last night was just the cherry on the cake.
“Without doubt this is right up there as one of, if not the, proudest moments of my life and I can’t say I’ve ever cried after winning a match.
“It was just fantastic and an experience and a moment at the end I will never forget for the rest of my life.”
The Game4Padel Team could not be prouder of our ambassador and as she took stock of her emotional rollercoaster ride, Tia drew comparisons between the tight bonds she has built with her Las Vegas teammates and her close relationship with us here at G4P.
The US PPL champion said: “The Smash are all a family and that was something that we wanted to create from the start. We have been spending every day with each other for the past five weeks and to be honest I think we are the closest group of all the teams.
“I think we were victorious because we all just had each other’s backs and everyone supported the other so strongly in the tough moments, and there were plenty of these every week, that is what got us through.
“In many ways it is similar to the close relationship I have with the people at Game4Padel – being a team player is something that's always been important to me.”
Yet Tia and her partner, ‘Palila’ had to dig deep to send The Smash on their way to this totemic victory after letting a first set lead slip and the GB international admitted: “Really the key was getting the momentum back, obviously winning the first set 6-1, perhaps our concentration levels slipped a bit but when we began that decider it was like: ‘now or never’ and we just really went for it and refused to lose.
“I think our ability to do that was because of the experiences we have had over the last five weeks or so and all those tough matches against the likes of Cata Tenorio and Marta Marrero.
“Not only have they brought us closer together as a team but also provided so many learning points for us. All of that really got us through the tough moments and we finished very strongly which was so pleasing.
“After our match I was getting congratulations but I was thinking to myself this isn’t over and it was tough to keep a lid on it.
“Thankfully the boys then got it done but that didn’t stop my heart rate going up to 106! As soon as we won that match point everyone ran into a huddle and it was pure joy but with a few tears – it was such a historic moment, we couldn’t believe it.”
As Tia admitted, she would be delighted to return to the US for a sequel season in 2024 – the Game4Padel ambassador said: “It will take some time for it all to sink in I guess but right now I just want to enjoy winning the first ever US PPL.
“I hope they’ll want me back and if they do I will for sure accept an offer – there is no doubt about that. I am definitely keen to come back and win it all again!”
Congratulations to Tia and her family from all at Game4Padel!