CALGARY—Team USA was pumped going into their group 2 match against Mexico in the Men’s Match Play event at the 2008 World Paddle Tennis Championships on Wednesday.
The match could be heard throughout the Calgary West Soccer Centre as fans from both sides took advantage of literally every opportunity possible to cheer on their team.
The first match was a doozey featuring as it did a “battle of the brothers.” Team USA matched the Bailey brothers against Mexico’s Angel and Ignacio Mediola in a hard-fought match which saw the Bailey’s fall in a very close 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
“We lost a tough match, the first one was 6-4 in the third set and that put momentum on their side,” said John Chun of Team USA.
In the second match up, featuring USA’s top line of Mike May and Chun, Team USA was defeated by Mexico’s Roberto Bravo and Odilon Silva by a score of 6-3, 6-1.
Unfortunately for Team USA, Mike May was injured in their match against Portugal yesterday, but tried his best to play through it.
“We knew it was going to be difficult but we tried to make the best line up we could. Unfortunately one of our top players was injured, he pulled a calf muscle the day before against Portugal. We tried to change the line up, but it didn’t work our way,” Chun said.
Because of the injury, Mexico gained a serious advantage due to the increased depth in their line-up over the Americans.
“They have a lot more depth in their line-up, they’ve been playing more years, their players are practicing every day, they have more access to court, and they have more match competition,” Chun said.
“Other players on our team, they’re a little bit raw at the game, they haven’t been playing as much. So we try to compensate for that by switching our line ups."
Chun said he tried to play more of the court to compensate for his team-mate’s injury.
“I tried to play ¾ of the court but in paddle when you have two good players you’re going to beat one player. He tried playing and obviously he couldn’t and they were hitting everything to him,” he said.
“It was unfortunate. I think, besides playing good paddle and doing the match ups correctly, the key is to not get injured and it happens at all levels.”
Team USA will face off against France on Friday night to determine the 7th and 8th place positions in the Match Play event. Chun says the two teams have some residual rivalry stemming from the previous World Championships. And due to May’s injury, France is the favorite.
USA will be subbing Team Captain Francisco Turner in May’s place during their matches.