Former world champion has high hopes for Jersey

A FORMER world champion, and now head coach to the Great Britain team, says the relatively new racket sport of padel will soon become an even bigger hit in Jersey.

Padel Tennis courts at St Clement Golf and Sports Centre. Mauri Andrini, former world champion and current GB coach (Argentinian) delivering coaching clinics (in yellow shots and whit shirt)                                                            Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31344470)
Padel Tennis courts at St Clement Golf and Sports Centre. Mauri Andrini, former world champion and current GB coach (Argentinian) delivering coaching clinics (in yellow shots and whit shirt) Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31344470)

Argentinian Mauri Andrini – who is also the director of Hello Padel, the sport’s largest online academy – made his comments after a four-day coaching course in the Island during which he chatted to Scott Clayton, Island Padel’s new coach, about the club’s plans.

According to Andrini, padel is now one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, although he adds strict planning laws in the United Kingdom and Germany have hampered the building of courts and have stifled the sport’s growth in those countries.

‘In Spain, it just gets done’, he says, rather surprised at what appears to him to be an Anglo-Saxon reserve to promote sport. There have been courts in Jersey and Guernsey for the past five years or so.

There are two outdoor courts in Jersey at St Clement’s Recreation Centre. Guernsey has three, two of which are indoors. Because of this, Jersey has never been able to host an inter-insular competition. But that could soon change. Island Padel have put in a planning application for three indoor courts and floodlighting for the existing outdoor courts. The Government of Jersey has also given them £425,000 from the fiscal stimulus fund.

Former professional tennis player Clayton hopes building will start towards the end of the year. That, however, won’t be in time for Jersey to host the Covid-postponed inter-insular, rescheduled for September. Thirty players from both islands – five men’s teams, five women’s, and five veterans – will battle it out for bragging rights.

Andrini, who travels the world promoting the sport, was last in Jersey about five years ago. At that time, he says, ‘there were only about eight players, and there seemed to be no real plans to promote the sport’. He believes that has now changed.

‘More people are playing locally – you even have to wait for a court,’ he said. ‘Standards have risen. Players are taking and passing coaching exams. There are plans for new courts. And there’s a real sense of purpose.’

More in Monday's JEP.

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