BBC Sport tennis


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Friday, 26 November 2010

Matt Thomas ready for Padel Tennis World Championships

Matt Thomas
Thomas coached Hungary's Melinda Czink at Wimbledon

Warwickshire tennis coach Matt Thomas is heading to Mexico to represent the United Kingdom at the Padel Tennis World Championships.

The sport, which originated in South America, combines elements of tennis and squash usually in a doubles format.

Solihull-born Thomas will be one of 14 competitors from the UK at the week-long event which starts this weekend.

He told BBC Sport: "I have competed in local events in Spain but this will be my first major event."

Thomas's team are drawn in a group with Chile, Uruguay and Switzerland, with the top two teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile the men's pairs also face Chile in the knockout competition and if they win they could play the number one seeds from Spain.

Padel is still relatively unheard of in the UK, with only one court in London.

But Thomas, who took up the sport at the age of 18 when coaching in Spain, believes it has a long-term future alongside similar racket-based games such as tennis and squash.

Padel is played by many professional tennis players around the world, including Andy Murray

Matt Thomas

"Padel has grown rapidly around the world with 11 million people playing the game today," the Warwick University head of tennis said.

"The game can be played by beginners all the way through and the sport is close to becoming as popular as tennis in some countries, due to the longer rallies and tactics involved in the game.

"Many tennis and squash players play padel, as the game is a combination of both sports and the the squad currently consists of players that have played at a professional level and at Wimbledon.

"Padel is played by many professional tennis players around the world, including Andy Murray, as it develops tennis skills such as net play and feel and it is an enjoyable game.

"I really took to the game as it was fast with lots of lobbing and angles so it really develops your touch and hand skills."

The sport is funded in Britain by the UK Padel Federation, which hopes to build courts across the UK.

Print Sponsor