The IX European Padel Championship is going to be one of the most exciting international tournaments of the last few years. The absence of the last European Champion and runner up of the World Cup 2014 –Spain- has changed all expectations. With very few exceptions the tournament will be very competitive with all teams playing at mostly equal levels.
The absence of Spain and its armada of professional players have opened the possibility that a new country will be the reigning champion of European Padel. France has returned to the international arena after few years of absence due to its internal conflicts at Federation level and lack of leadership. Under the management of the French Tennis Federation, the padel team is back in the European Championship loaded with an impressive amount of talented players, who at least in theory, make this country a favorite to win the tournament.
Then there is a group of challengers that include Italy, Portugal, Germany and Sweden. Italy, lead by their Argentine trainer Gustavo Specter, presented a mix of experienced and new players. Their performance in the World Cup 2015 was not impressive, having surprisingly lost against Germany.
Portugal is a team that could clearly compete for the championship if their best players had been called to compete. But having their own internal issues, Portugal is not bringing their group of A players, some of whom are top fifty World Padel Tour players. Nevertheless, Portugal remains a competitive team.
Germany, having qualified for the World Championship Padel 2015 and having defeated the experienced Italian team, is full of energy and enthusiasm. To make things better, the opening of new indoor courts in the country allowed for a longer training season and further improvement of their players. Their new trainer, Argentine German Schaeffer, coordinates the team from Spain.
Sweden is not only the country of Vikings, but also home of some of the most fanatic sport fans in the world. That is visible when you see the Swedish team enter the padel court. All members of this team are true athletes. Lead by Anton Andersson and Andreas Palsson, Sweden is there to bring a surprise.
The winner of the last qualification tournament for the World Cup Padel 2015, Belgium, is a team of young tennis players. Olivier and Christophe Rochus, both ranked top 40 ATP during the recent years, bring a lot of experience to the team. Ad to this the giant Laureant Montoisy with his big bad boy power smash for a great team combo.
Then it is time for the local. The Netherlands is up to The Netherlands. Runner up of the qualification tournament to the World Cup Padel 2015, the team got a bad draw in World Cup in Mallorca, having to compete in the group face against the mighty Spain, Brazil and USA, three teams comprising professionals and semiprofessionals. Later, Holland took revenge by defeating Canada to finish on a decent 14th overall position. Playing at home in front of the local crowd, the team is due to give a big surprise. Lead by Argentine coach Norberto Nesi, their players have been preparing long for this tournament and are ready to impress the orange fans.
Austria and Switzerland are two teams that have not performed impressively during the last few years. Austria did not qualify to the World Cup Padel 2015 and Switzerland ended on a disappointing final position.
The Ladies Tournament
The female tournament has a clear candidate, Portugal. The team consists of young but experienced tennis and padel professionals, including some World Padel Tour players, such as Ana Catarina Nogueira, currently ranked at no 19 World Padel Tour. The rest of the teams are mostly a combination of experienced tennis players making a transition to Padel. The runner up title is open for any team.