Nederlands team wint het NAS tournament in Dubai !!

Dutch team wins the NAS tournament in Dubai!!

Dutch team wins the NAS tournament in Dubai!!

Youp de Kroon with the Dutch team to NAS 2024!

You may already recognize me from my previous blog posts, but for those who don't know me yet, let me introduce myself. I am Youp de Kroon, a 19-year-old enthusiast with a great love for padel. I am currently doing an internship at JustPadel, where I can continue to express my passion for this sport. The great thing is that I can improve my own game at the same time. I am currently in ninth place in the Dutch padel rankings, but my goal is to make a name for myself internationally this year. And let me tell you, I recently participated with the Dutch team at the NAS 2024 in Dubai. An incredible experience that I will tell you all about!

Want to know what a typical day looked like for Julian and me in Dubai? Then click on the link below for a look behind the scenes!

After a month and a half of excitement, the time had finally come: the long-awaited week of March 11 to 18 was just around the corner and I could hardly contain my enthusiasm. Together with my partner Julian Prins, I prepared for an adventure with the Dutch team for the first time, on the way to Dubai. The excitement ran through my body, but secretly I also felt some nerves. After all, it was the first time I traveled with a large group and I didn't know most of the team members very well.

On Monday, March 11, we started our journey early in the morning, by train to Schiphol. Unfortunately, the day didn't start off smoothly, as our first train canceled and we had to wait a while at the station. But luckily the rest of the flight went without any problems. We stayed in a beautiful hotel and every morning we started training. The matches took place in the evenings.

Group stage
On Tuesday, the first day of the tournament, Julian and I hung out in suspense. We didn't know yet whether we would play that evening, but after a solid training we were confident! In the end we were told only two hours in advance that we had to go on the track. We were overjoyed, because this meant our debut for the Dutch team! Julian and I were scheduled for the third match, with the score tied at that time. It was up to us to play the decisive pot. Fortunately, the nerves were well under control and with a convincing performance we took the victory, returning to the hotel with a 2-1 victory.

The next day we took it easy with just a morning workout. But on Thursday it was time for action again, with our second group match on the program. Guess what? We won 3-0, ensuring first place in the group stage!

Semi finals
In the semi-finals we faced the team from Dubai. With another strong performance, we managed to win convincingly and qualified as a team for the final of the NAS tournament 2024. Until now, Julian and I had played every match, and we were of course very happy with that. Now we were looking forward to the final with great hope and hoping that we would get the chance to shine on the field again!

After an intense match between Iran and Kuwait, Kuwait ultimately came out on top. This made it clear that we would face Kuwait again in the final. We were well prepared and looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Bart van Opstal and Menno Nolten were allowed to take the lead. I have to admit I was quite nervous. I knew that if Bart and Menno played well, they should win easily, but in such a tournament you never know. Fortunately, Bart and Menno managed to win. Then it was up to Julian and me to get the job done and make sure we went home with the title. And we did! With determined play we managed to achieve victory and take home the title.

Fun fact:
At the end of the event there was a special ceremony where my team deliberately let me walk onto the stage last. Why? They secretly hoped that, with my not very good English, I would give a spectacular speech. They only told me this three minutes before we had to go on stage. Luckily I didn't have to give a speech in the end, but trust me, those three minutes were quite stressful!