SOLIHULL’S Matt Thomas has been selected to represent Team UK at the Padel Tennis World Championships in Mexico.
The sport, which is a cross between tennis and squash, originated in Argentina and is played across Latin America and Spain.
It was whilst working in La Manga that Matt first came across the sport as an eighteen-year-old.
Now back in the UK Matt trains once a month in London at the only Padel court in the country. The Team UK squad also regularly travel to Spain to take advantage of the extensive facilities available there.
The sport’s popularity has ballooned since 1990 when the first World Championships were held. From 20,000 players in 1990, there are now an estimated 1 million players in Spain alone.
The interest in the game on the south coast of Spain has exposed the sport to a large number of British holidaymakers and ex-pats which has led to a gradual growth in popularity here.
Matt is hoping the World Championships will give the sport an additional boost in profile and even has ambitious plans to make Solihull the home of Padel Tennis in the UK.
“We’re aiming to create the first Padel Tennis club in the country in Solihull,” he said. “At the moment I have to travel down to London once a week to train and across to Spain every six to eight weeks.”
“We’re hoping the publicity from the World Championships will get more people interested in it over here.”