Is padel a sport for frustrated tennis players?

by Martín Echegaray


The question is clear and if we could not qualify it, that is, if we treated it as a closed-ended question (yes / no), in my opinion the answer would then clearly be a yes.

Throughout my life with padel I have heard this question many times, although usually as a strong statement: padel is a sport for frustrated tennis players. Even a journalist once asked me for my opinion about it. The truth is that, I regret to say it for my padel colleagues, I agree with this question. Moreover, I am a witness case.

But deepening a little in the analysis -and justifying myself- perhaps my colleagues will forgive me. Even maybe someone shares my vision. In the first place, we should define well what we call a frustrated tennis player. Let's say it's about who has not reached high rankings (ATP or WTA). The problem, in this case, is that then the sport with the most frustrated tennis players will be the tennis itself, in which those tennis players will continue to insist, either for pure pleasure or because they are coaches and it is their job, and they will continue competing from time to time.

Will it be so bad for a sport to be something like a "deposit" of frustrated athletes in other modalities? Because to tell the truth in padel we not only have frustrated tennis players like me but all kinds of people who did not arrive -or maybe they did- to what they wanted in another sport. And there are also those who are aiming for a bombing and not for that reason they should be labelled chronically frustrated. There are even people who seem to be frustrated at birth, and padel will at least serve to change their faces circumstantially.

In any case, I think it's a great advantage -for padel- to be a physical activity in which people of such different conditions find their moment of glory, fun, or whatever. The truth is that in my childhood, and like many people, I wanted to be an astronaut, and humbly I do not think that neither NASA nor the European Space Agency has lost anything without me, or that for that they should blame tennis -my first preference - to have missed out on some potential Neil Armstrong. And therefore I also believe that tennis - or rather tennis players - should not put the blame on padel for similar reasons.

If I already was a frustrated tennis player when I opted to try padel, I would have done a disservice to tennis by continuing to dishonour him. But speaking more seriously, it is true that padel has certain advantages of ease in terms of its practice, which is remarkable for a racquet sport, and this can cause many people to prefer it to tennis. But I repeat, as far as your practice. Because the 'white sport' has multiple virtues that we padel players probably never enjoy. But no worries.

You guys: who do you want more, Dad or Mom? Do you prefer tennis or padel? I think that the first question, as a crude example, is ridiculous; and the second, unnecessary. My answer to both is: 'both', or in the second case, perhaps, 'it depends'.

As a final conclusion, all those who wish to have fun are welcome to padel. No special abilities are needed, although if you have any, it will be useful. And if you bring with you certain frustrations, in this sport we will accept them and assure you that, in the worst case, they will not increase. Because if you were frustrated with padel, it would become a case study, and I recommend that you consider having it seen by a professional.


18 de noviembre de 2020