Seeded Sarnians to take on best of Brits
SEVERAL Guernsey players will be taking up seeded positions at the island’s first British Padel Tour Grade One event this weekend.
But going will be tough at Longcamps as classy British players hog the top positions in the recently-released draw, where Chris Salisbury and Rafael Vega Otaolaurucchi take the reins as men’s favourites.
Chris, the brother of five-time Grand Slam doubles tennis champion Joe Salisbury, won Guernsey’s Grade Two tournament last year.
Both Salisbury and Otaolaurucchi are ranked in the British men’s top 10 – and so are four of the other visitors.
But four Channel Islands pairings are among the eight seeded combinations for the men’s open.
Jersey’s Bero Bobus and Jon Southern are seeded fifth, followed immediately by Guernsey’s own Rob West and Jon Young.
The inter-island alliance of Guernsey’s Patrick Ogier and Jersey’s former doubles tennis elite Scott Clayton enter as seventh seeds, with Sarnians Ben Inder and Omar Ripolles in eighth.
‘We would hope, given that they are seeded, they would each get to the quarter-finals,’ Guernsey Padel Club stalwart Sara Woolland said.
‘We would hope to see those guys at least in the quarter-finals, but there are a couple dangerous floaters [unseeded players] as we like to call them.’
Given that the UK players get to compete more regularly in LTA ranking competitions, she added: ‘I would think Pat and Scott are better than their seedings.’
Guernsey’s two Laurens – Barker and Watson-Steele – feature prominently in the women’s draw.
They are the fourth and last of the seeded combinations, with Aimee Gibson and Catherine Rose lining up as favourites. Five of Britain’s top 10 women are in the mix.
Woolland believes the home advantage could count for a lot, given the different natures of courts around the British Isles.
‘Everybody is a mix of excited and nervous, but they have got the advantage of playing at home,’ she added.
‘The top players have got the advantage that they are much better than us.’
Overall, there are 91 individual adults and 32 juniors entered for the SPF and NSM-supported event.
Action starts tomorrow with junior and some veteran matches, with the men’s and women’s opens beginning late on Saturday morning and building towards finals on Sunday afternoon.