It took prodigious mental strength for Arturo Coello and Agustin Tapia this Sunday to overcome the real referee hold-up they suffered in the final of the WPT Chile Open.

We will only briefly return to the facts themselves, which we have detailed in our article “Scandal during the men's final".

Arbitration error.- While the Spanish-Argentinian pair should have won 6/4 6/3 this final against Juan Lebron and Ale Galan, an obvious refereeing error deprived them of their victory. At 5/3 in the 2nd set, a winning smash by Coello at 30A, which all the players, commentators and spectators saw as good, was considered a fault by the referee.

An aggravating circumstance, the latter first scored 40/30 on the scoreboard in favor of Coello, before rectifying the score to 30/40… during the next point. But the referee's oral announcement – ​​which few people heard – was 30/40.

Amazement.- When almost everyone thought the match was over, Juan Lebron was about to shake hands with Coello and Tapia, but Ale Galan, who came out to recover a smash off the track, pointed out that the referee had announced 40A.

Tapia and Coello had just been robbed

The protest.- Despite protests from the Argentinian, the Spaniard and their coach Manu Martin, the referee did not reverse his decision. And for good reason, a point had been played from the disputed point: it is therefore impossible to contest or request video arbitration.

Consternation.- At 40A, after a lot of discussions, a “punto de oro” was finally played, won by… Galan and Lebron. Tapia and Coello had just been robbed of a victory they had won on the pitch! A few minutes later, they lost the tie-break and everything had to be redone: “You are going to win this match twice”, Manu Martin told them.

Bad faith.- Beyond the refereeing error, occurring at the worst time, the unsportsmanlike attitude of Juan Lebron and Ale Galan poses a real problem. The two Spaniards, perfectly aware of having lost this match on the pitch, chose to “play the referee”: in short, they accepted an erroneous decision instead of returning the point to their opponents. Even if the referee refused to change his decision, they could have committed a willful foul on the punto de oro; or even several thereafter.

Already a controversy in Toulouse

Repeat offenders? This is not the first time that the world No. 1s have been accused of being unfair or lacking in fair play. Last June in Toulouse, they had recourse in a manner deemed abusive and unsportsmanlike to the intervention of the physiotherapist during the human semi-final Padel Open. And it was already against Agustin Tapia, then associated with Sanyo Gutierrez. Galan and Lebron had thus reversed the course of the match, attracting whistles from part of the public. On other occasions, these two players sometimes took excessive time between points or plays and benefited from the leniency of the referees.

Sanctions ? To err is human, but a referee of the World Padel Tour may be subject to penalties. Honorio García, yet accustomed to major events, will he be accountable? We can think so. Juan Lebron and Ale Galan, meanwhile, cannot be sportingly sanctioned: they did not break the rules. And the latter does not provide anything against what is akin to “concealment of fraud”.

A scandalous injustice

A tarnished image.- On the other hand, from the point of view of the image of the players, this heartbreaking affair will leave its mark. The attitude of Lebron and Galan was, once again, anything but exemplary. And in any case far from the image of fair play that emblematic players of their sport, world No. 1 for three years, should give. Lebron and Galan will have lost this match three times: twice on the court and once in the minds of all who witnessed this outrageous injustice.

The next generation Tapia / Coello.- If Lebron and Galan lost big, Agustin Tapia and Arturo Coello are the big winners of this Chile Open. Not only have they displayed a stratospheric level of play, but they are becoming the new charismatic leaders of the padel global. Despite their legitimate emotion and anger, they were able to outdo themselves to win with courage, selflessness and class: they even shook hands with their opponents and the referee at the end. And Coello, not resentful, did not settle accounts during the final interview, when Nacho Palencia asked him an unusually controversial question in the usually very smooth universe of the WPT.

Triple victory.- Finally, Coello and Tapia won three times, this Sunday: twice on the pitch and once in everyone's mind - including those of Galan and Lebron. Today, they are the new charismatic leaders of the padel World.

After 40 years of tennis, Jérôme falls into the pot of padel in 2018. Since then, he thinks about it every morning while shaving… but never shaves pala in hand! Journalist in Alsace, he has no other ambition than to share his passion with you, whether you speak French, Italian, Spanish or English.