By RJ Mitchell
HOME OF PADEL co-founder John Leach has promised a celebration of padel this weekend when the adidas HOP Tour heads to Bristol.
Rocket Padel’s 14-court superclub is the venue for an exciting couple of days which will see the action rage across adidas HOP PRO, adidas HOP Tour, and for the first time adidas HOP Seniors and adidas HOP Youth events.
While with just under 160 players battling it out in Bristol a bumper serving of padel action is on offer at what is the biggest adidas HOP event yet.
Looking forward to all this John shared: “Firstly we have a fantastic venue at Rocket Padel and a big thank you to their GM Marcus Bayllin, who we have worked very closely with on this. Marcus has been really helpful in setting everything up and we are all looking forward to the action getting underway.
“We have close to 160 entrants over all categories and we are just delighted to be promoting our first event at Rocket Padel and also to be promoting our biggest event on the adidas HOP National Tour while it’s a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about HOP.
“But we also want to put on a great show and make sure everyone at Rocket Padel has a great experience.
“Really you can walk into any club and see padel players of all ages playing and so this weekend is a celebration of all age groups who play padel spanning the youth event, the pro event, and the seniors event and that is really exciting.”
John is particularly enthused about the adidas HOP Youth event which features three age categories spanning the under-12, under-15, and under-18 groups.
Reflecting on this exciting addition to the adidas HOP stable, which he views as a crucial development in our commitment to growing the youth game in the UK, John said: “We had discussions collectively with our sponsors adidas when we joined forces at the start of the year and we just felt that we hadn’t supported the youth side of the game.
“So we were super keen on doing something for the kids to help develop and drive things in the UK at youth level.
“Together we’ve come up with a really cool prize of a 1 year full adidas sponsorship for all the individual winners and we are just excited to be holding this inaugural adidas Hop Youth event at Rocket Padel, Bristol.”
The initial adidas adidas Hop Youth tournament will consist of three categories in a boys only event and John explained: “We have under-12, 15 and 18 categories with each category having their own winners and we have collaborated with the LTA and used their rankings.
“So some of these kids have played LTA junior events already and of course there will be LTA ranking points at stake this Saturday. In this respect it is seeded on performances already this year.
“Unfortunately we have had to shelve the girls categories as the entry was a bit low. But although the focus is now on the boys for this weekend we are committed and passionate about pushing the girls’ side and eventually growing that aspect of adidas Hop Youth.”
In the 16-pair under-12 draw Maximus Warner and Jesse Warren are top-seeded with Edward and David Croft second seeded.
At under-15 level Warner and Warren are again top-seeded with Charlie Aldred and Ethan Holt slated to meet them in the final.
While in the under-18 category Aston Deva-Nix and Oliver Hayday head the seedings with Barney Brown and Oscar Warneryd rated their main challengers.
When it came to the value of competitive action for the kids John, who is GB Men’s National Team Head Coach, was in no mood to underestimate the importance of meaningful match-time played under tournament conditions and he said: “Playing tournament padel is a really important process and making sure you balance that with training correctly is vital.
“On a personal note I am very excited to see the juniors play across all three categories but of course particularly at under-18 level where we will have players who may be the next group to come through and challenge for national team places over the next couple of years.
“So I am sure the adidas HOP Youth events will prove a fascinating watch at Rocket Padel in this respect.”
Meanwhile the senior events will see a string of internationalists, including Andrew Warren and John Byrne, head across the Severn and as John revealed HOP have plans to expand their senior service in 2024.
He said: “This is also the first senior event that HOP have done so it is a pretty unique weekend for us and on top of that I’m connected (Head Coach) to the men’s seniors team and it will be very interesting to see who fronts up while next year we may well look at doing a Seniors Tour.
“This weekend we have 40s, 50s, and 60s categories in the men’s tournament and in the women’s it’s over 40s and over-50s, so for us it will be just great to get all these players competing under the same roof playing in a HOP event and seeing them enjoy their padel.”
With GB No.3 ranked Sam MacNeil and Rafa Vega Otaolaurruchi seeded one for the Hop PRO tournament, rising stars Jake Bewley and Theo Garton second ranked while HOP co-founder Javi Serrats and GB international Frankie Langan are seeded No.4, the action is sure to be fast and furious in the elite event.
While the adidas HOP Tour competition features several big names from the British game like former GB women’s assistant coach Max Lutostsanski, who is now head coach at Padium, who partners GB Ladies international Catherine Rose.