Buenos Aires Worlds 2004Buenos Aires, Argentina
7th World Championship
(The following article was contributed by Dorothy Kirk. Thanks Dorothy!!)
The Seventh World Padel Tennis Championships were held Nov 15-21 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After battling rain the first few days, which forced all matches to various indoor venues, the spring sun was finally shining and the Club Hindu proved itself a worthy backdrop for such an event. The tournament hotel and dining facilities were on site. The club had padel courts scattered throughout its vast grounds, and featured a 1,500 seat glass center court with an adjacent pavilion of white tents where equipment and souvenir vendors welcomed players and visitors from 12 different counties.
The tournament consisted of a men’s and women’s team event with countries playing a best 2 out of 3 match format, and a separate open competition. Entered in the event were many great players Roberto Gattiker and Fernando Belastiguin of Argentina, Juan Diaz of Spain (considered the best male player in the World) even former French Open Finalist tennis player Victor Pecci. Great women’s players such as Llodra and Montes of Spain and Eyheraguibel and Brito of Argentina were featured in the Women’s event.
Our experienced Canadian men’s team, including Craig Lamb attending his fourth and Steve Shannon attending his fifth World Championships, were hoping to match their best ever eighth place finish in Madrid 1998. However the competition was very fierce, they opened the tournament with a 3-0 loss to a second seeded Spanish squad which featured the aforementioned Juan Martin Diaz .They followed with losses to France, a tight loss to Italy, the U.S. and eventually defeated Austria 3-0 for an eleventh place finish out of twelve teams. In the Open event the best Canadian result was Chad Gutor and Craig Lamb who had a win over Cervantes/Garza of Mexico 6-2,4-6,6-3 before succumbing to the eventual finalists Reca/Narone of Argentina 6-0,6-0 in the round of 16.
The Canadian Women’s team was made up mostly of players who were relatively new to padel but looked forward to getting valuable experience in their first World Championships. They also opened the event with a 3-0 loss to Spain who had previously won the event and were seeded second. They showed improvement with each match played but wins were hard to come by, next playing Mexico, Uruguay, and eventually lost a close match to Italy finishing in eighth place out of eight teams.
Argentina seeded first in both the men’s and women’s team events triumphed over Spain in both finals much to the joy of the Argentine crowd. In the men’s open event Fernando Belasteguin (Arg)/Juan Martin Diaz (Spa) defeated Gabriel Reca/ Sebastian Nerone 4-6,6-1,6-4 in a thrilling final. The women’s open final was a more decisive win with Montes (Spa)/ Eyheraguibel (Arg) defeating the team of Pavone/Brito (Arg) 6-1,6-3.
It was a privilege to for our team to see such an incredible level of play and I know our team was inspired and motivated for the future.
Away from the courts site seeing tours, shopping sprees, and the fine restaurants of the city were enjoyed by the Canadian team. Everyone had a harrowing cab ride story. Many people had the once in a lifetime experience of attending the World Cup qualifying soccer match between Argentina and Venezuela. Others enjoyed taking it easy at the club pool. After long and weary flights home, however, it is clear that everyone is even more excited about getting out on the courts next summer, and enjoying this great game!