As I start this entry, I am floating through the clouds for two reasons. One, I’m on a plane headed towards my hometown in Virginia for a family visit. Two, I just recently got news that I received a wildcard into the Swedish Padel Open this summer. #saywhat?!
I never imagined the chance at a one-way ticket to a WPT main-draw. So, I cannot express how fortunate I’m feeling right now and how happy I am that Euro Finans Swedish Padel Open believes in me. As I sit crammed between two strangers in row 27, and despite the fact that I have many hours of travel ahead of me, I’m trying to keep the happiness from bubbling from within me. #staycool
Baharak Soleymani and Anto will play WPT in Sweden in a couple of weeks.
Just last summer, I explained how I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience when I got to team up with one of my favorite padel stars Lucia Sainz and now I’ve landed yet another one of those experiences. I was in the Båstad stands when Windahl and Knutsson went against Lamperti and Mieres and just being there was surreal. I can’t imagine what it will feel like to actually be on the court this time, not to mention alongside Baharak Soleymani, an individual who is amazingly energetic, dedicated and inspiring. We got to know each other at World Championships in Paraguay and have grown on each other since then, so I could not ask for a better partner to share this experience with. We will without a doubt enjoy and fight to the fullest!
Ok, let’s try calming the butterflies in my stomach. I’m so excited I could almost pee in my pants... Let’s talk about something else. What’s been up with me lately? Well, it’s been business as usual. Padel, padel, padel, and some more padel.
About a week ago was the Swedish Team Championships, where I played for Padel Crew. It was a weekend jam-packed with tight and sweaty matches. We took the silver medal as a team and I personally played a total of 17 sets in two days.
Physically, I survived these days with just a bit of soreness in my abs and one huge bruise on my left bicep #thankshalmstad. Mentally, I survived although we lost the gold after many well-fought matches. Spiritually, I was left with a slight feeling of euphoria after all the fist-pumping, cheering, laughing and bonding with old and new padel friends. #teamspirit #simplythebest
Antonette and Kristina Clement made a great semi against Sofia Arvidsson and Baharak Soleymani.
And just this weekend, was the SPT in Uppsala — a well-organized event with friendly and helpful locals. My trusty friend Kristina from France came once again to team up with me and, once again we laughed and fought our way through the weekend. Unfortunately, we fell to favorites Sofia Arvidsson and Baharak in the semis 2-6, 6-3, 4-6. We made them work and I don’t think we could have done much more.
It was the fourth time in about a week’s time that I had lost to Sofia in a three-setter. Although I’m satisfied with my efforts and a win against the so-called Queen of Padel is getting closer and closer, the question still remains...
How the h*ll does she manage to win all of these matches with a side braid that doesn’t seem to budge out of place? I mean my hair on the other hand just whips all over the place. What is her secret?
OK, on a less cosmetic note, there is another question that a lot of people may ask. Why is she so difficult to beat? Is it because the rest of us subconsciously feel intimidated by the fact that she has been a Top-30 WTA player? Or is it that she has some crazy ability to keep her partner and herself calm even when her opponents play mostly to her partner during a match? Or is it her ability to so effectively read the game and the next move of her opponents?
It probably is a combination of the above and although it is a bit frustrating to know she can dominate as she does, it is also very admirable and very beneficial for the development of women’s padel here in Sweden. Had she not been in the picture, the rest of us probably wouldn’t be working so hard to step it up. We’re all stepping it up whether it be because of her or not.
Just a couple years ago, I was making it to the finals of every tournament with ease and now I’m struggling to get through the semis, but at the same time I’d like to say I’m a much better player than I was back then.
Anyhow, that’s enough of my padel babble. I’m now debating whether I should get some zzzz’s to ward off the upcoming jet lag or if I should indulge in an episode of Game of Thrones for the first time.
The plan for this week for me is to top up on physical training, which could be good since I’ve played so many matches recently, and control my quota on donut intake. Next week, I will have to plan some serious training on court. Stay tuned and please mark your calendars to come cheer me, Barre and Sofia on in Vilshärad in a couple of weeks!