Another week of padel paradise has passed. Swedish Padel Open ended as a success as you all have read, that is, if you weren’t there to actually feel it. Personally, I was humming “CEE LAA BRATE good times, COME ON!” all the way back to Gothenburg. You can’t beat the sun (which we Swedes should still be thanking the weather fairies for), the padel stars, the intimacy of the Vilshärad/Båstad set-up and hanging out with your padel friends whom you usually exchange just a few words with as you drip sweat and gulp a quick gatorade outside the cage.
A WPT LIKE NO OTHER
The difference for me this year was that I didn’t only get to experience the WPT hype as a spectator. Baharak Soleymani and I got to step onto the court as WPT players which was an experience beyond description but I’m going to give it a try…
Previously, I have attempted to qualify for two WPTs, one in Monaco and second in Barcelona and the competition just during qualifying rounds is comparable to a jungle where the girls are climbing over each other in a game of survival of the fittest. It is tough enough to win one qualifying round and this time, we were handed a free pass to the main-draw — kind of like a little bridge over that crazy jungle. I’m not good at giving myself credit, but feel I deserved that pass, just as Baharak and Sofia did, and I am very grateful that it was given to me.
RATTLE AND HUM
Swedes are a people of few words and have the ability to use one word that can encompass a more complicated meaning. There’s an expression in Swedish that I hadn’t really put much thought into until this past Wednesday and it’s the expression using the simple word “skräll” — pronounced screll.
It means, among other things, “rattle” and when used in a sports context, it implies that something is shaken up or something unexpected has happened. Well, our match was close to a true “skräll”. Our opponents, Alicia Blanco Rojo and Beatriz Caldera are ranked No. 31 in the world and realistically, our match could have easily been a walk in the park for them. No one expected us to play as great a match as we did, not even us.
Of course, anything can happen and you have to believe in yourself, but you also have to keep your feet on the ground, be realistic and know your boundaries. Finding that balance is tricky and we did a pretty good job of doing just that.
Baharak Soleymani och Antonette Andersson skakade verkligen om sina betydligt mer erfarna motståndare.
We started the match off well, keeping them on their toes and losing a fairly close set at 4-6. I have yet to watch the stream with Anna Svedenhov’s commentary and I would especially like to watch and re-live the second set, because Barre and I found a flow — we were playing the best to our ability at that moment, were enjoying every second of it and ended up winning it 7-5. One set on our WPT debut!
At that point, and I’m sure all of you padel players have experienced it, you’re feeling pumped from the win of the set and the fact that you’re still in the match, but know so well, that you have to use the momentum, start strong and keep the same focus and intensity in the third set. But things got tricky as they often do in a third set. We served the first game and reached a 40-15 lead and somehow managed to lose the game (this part I may have to fast forward in the stream). So, from there it was a little up-hill, but we managed to hang in there and still have them a little “rattled”.
Down 2-3, we had chances to break and just within that one game we play three points where the ball hits the tape of the net and falls to our opponents’ favor. #threeinonegame #maxotur From then on, the wind picked up, the points got messier and that up-hill got very steep, and we couldn’t get the flow back losing 2-6 in the third.
HOW DOES IT FEEL?
So, if you ask me how it felt, the answer depends on what “it” is. Just the opportunity of playing a WPT in itself is an amazing experience. The fact that we were able to play without choking of nervousness (don’t know about you Barre, but I was nervous at least) and give a good fight is like icing on the cake.
But… yes, there’s a big “but”. BUT just on this very day, we had this amazing opportunity in our hands, tons of encouraging pre-match messages from friends, a reasonable draw (imagine landing Eli and Patty first round #ouch), the comfort of having the National Team Captain whisper “Vamos” to us during every break, the perfect amount of adrenaline from nerves and excitement, the sun on our faces, the swirls of wind to throw off our opponents’ polished bandejas, the type of team spirit that makes you high-five so hard that you sprain a finger, long points resulting in smiles stretching way further than the size of our faces, just enough confidence to “rattle” experienced WPT players, local support and sponsors screaming our names, and loved ones standing and twitching nervously behind the glass. All of this, could have made for a perfect chance for a couple of underdogs to become a couple of heroes (for a couple hours at least #hehe). So, yes, the icing on the cake tasted oh. so. good. But the cake inside turned out to be just a little bit too dry. #metaphorsfromacookiemonster
These are my reflections of WPT 2019 and if you made it through this much of the blog, I can tell you that I’ve had yet another once-in-a-lifetime summer experience. The first time was winning Vilshärad Open 2018 with Lucia Sainz. After that weekend with her, I wrote that I could retire and go straight to padel heaven, but this time around I’m not quite ready to go to padel heaven yet. I’m actually a little hungry for more and so looking forward to more fun battles together with Barre. #mersmak #onewordexpression #barretherock #jallajalla #fall2019
This week is the Vilshärad Open 2019 and then I’m off to Spain for summer break away. Let’s see how long I can keep my ML10 tucked neatly inside my bag during that break… Hope you all are able to keep those happy vibes from a surreal WPT week flowing and that your summer is fun-filled and, as my 10 year-old would say, chillaxing!
M.FL. is an abbreviation for “med flera” — in English “among others” AKA “Baharak Soleymani, Antonette Andersson" #hehe
Game day. Got to ride from hotel with Carolina, Ceci and Van #luckycharms
Coach Dani Dios.