Created in Latin America, padel has experienced in the last 10 years a real boom in Europe. Compelling and easy to learn, the sport sees its highest expression in the WPT event held on Mondo artificial turf.
Sometimes an error generating accidental positive results. This is the case of the padel, a sport created in 1969 by the vagueness of the Mexican Enrique Corcuera that, in an effort to build a tennis court in his estate, did not count the walls behind the playing area. The result was a field shorter than expected and closed on the sides. Corcuera then decided to consider the walls an integral part of the playing field and the rules invented a new sport: padel. Five years later, his friend, the Spanish nobleman Alfonso Hohenloe, back in Spain, built a tennis padel court in his sports club in Marbella, beginning a process that has brought the sport to be one of the most loved and practiced not only in the Iberian country.
"The popularity of Padel is because anyone can practice it, regardless of age or physique. To achieve a good level of play does not need months of classes. Quickly you can learn and have fun, "says Xavi Seco, General Manager of Pista Padel World. To play padel you do not need to know how to play tennis. It has been called "one squash less hectic," certainly is a sport that, perhaps because you always play two against two, is perfect, not only a good way to stay in shape, but also good for socializing.
After years in which it was considered a variation of the courts, padel is today recognized as a sport complete with its own identity, on par with traditional sports. Padel is practiced increasingly by young people; children are taught, on par with tennis, football and basketball. This rejuvenation process is clearly visible not only at the amateur level, but also at a professional level. Even the World Padel Tour, the ultimate expression of the game of padel, is going through this evolution, with the presence in the field of professional players getting younger. Legendary players like Fernando Belasteguin, Juan Martin Diaz, Max Gabriel and Pablo Lima, to name a few, have enriched the game and were examples for the young people who for the first time have entered the professional circuit, first in local tournaments and then within the WPT.
The WPT is the most important professional circuit in the world, and is headquartered nerve center in Spain, which hosts 12 of the 16 events in the calendar. The last ten years have literally seen the padel phenomenon explode in Spain and every date of the WPT has recorded a turnout of 20 thousand fans in stadiums that can accommodate more than 5 thousand spectators. A number that is always increasing, as evidenced by the Estrella Damm Master Finals 2014, with 25 thousand spectators during the five days of competition, were the biggest event in the history of the sport. To these numbers are added the half million people who follow the event through live-streaming, three million visits a day to the website of the WPT and the massive presence of followers on social networks associated with the event. These figures led padel to finish third in the ranking of the most popular sports in Spain, after football and basketball, and before sports with a great tradition such as handball and futsal. This public success has not gone unnoticed outside Spain. The 2015 edition of the WPT also includes dates in Monte Carlo, Dubai, Portugal and Argentina.
An important competition like the WPT requires playing fields with surfaces of the highest level. For this reason, Mondo, working with the Spanish Federation of Padel, has brought its expertise by creating a system specifically designed for the sport: an artificial turf surface with a height never marketed before (12 mm against 15 mm used for tennis) that adheres to all the stringent quality standards required by the Federation.
"We have developed a type of artificial grass designed precisely for the padel. An area that will guarantee performance and safety to the player and a perfectly natural ball bounce. The result fulfills another important demand: the durability of the surface. We have all the elements to say that the Mondo is the best artificial turf on which you can play padel, "says Jesus Caton, Sports Turf Area Manager of Mondo Iberica. The commitment of Mondo in creating specific solutions for the padel brought results so important to attract the attention of those involved in the sport from another important perspective: "It was created by a technical collaboration with the American company K-Swiss, a leader in the market for tennis shoes and padel, who were very interested in the results of Mondo in this area. We are working with them to develop products that deliver unprecedented performance, "says Jesus Caton.
The latest generation of Mondo 3NX synthetic turf, approved by the Spanish Federation of Padel, guarantees optimal sports performance, high resistance to heat and weather changes, no matter how extreme. "A good field for padel requires high quality materials, that are properly certified and approved. It should be firm, strong and aesthetically pleasing, "explains Xavi Seco. All features found in the system Mondoturf NSF Mondofibre 3NX 80, which has received many positive comments from the players and organizers of the WPT and has been confirmed as the playing surface for the 2015 edition. "There have been many positive comments about the Mondo field, for the sticky feel and comfort it gives to the players. Many of them ask their own to play on Mondo artificial turf. It is the perfect surface for this sport, adherence to the field is exceptional. We always recommend to our customers ", adds Xavi Seco. ***
Some changes in the Mondo system adopted for the 2015 WPT, compared to the one used in 2014, have made the playing surface even more popular with players and spectators. The system used is now Mondoturf NSF Monofibre 3NX 80 10 A (in 2014 was 12 A), and the fiber color is black (in 2014 was blue).
"Compared to 2014 it has gone from a artificial grass height of 12 mm high to 10 mm. This choice was dictated primarily by the fact that the systems are removable and are installed for every event. Every time you install you need to enter the sand very quickly, because the field must be in optimal playing conditions as quickly as possible. If the height of the grass is lower, this can be done quicker, "says Jesus Caton. When a surface is in optimum conditions, the game can be much faster and more spectacular. "As for the change in color, it was simply an aesthetic choice," says Jesus Caton. In padel there exists a variety of colors for both the metallic cage that surrounds the field, and for the playing surface. The choice is made taking into account the vision of the game by the viewer and contrast that should be with the moving ball. The system chosen for the 2015 WPT, it decided to use the black sand for infill, always with the intention of improving the visibility and aesthetics of the field.
Another change with respect to the field used in the edition 2014 of the WPT, less visible by the viewer but very much appreciated by the players, is the choice to use an Everlay B 4mm underlayment, which is installed on the playing field. "The field often has to be installed in areas different from each other, such as squares and large pavilions. These are places that can have strong surface irregularities. The Everlay solution can correct these imperfections and, therefore, improve the performance of the whole system. In addition, Everlay can help increase the ability to absorb shocks and vibration, improving the performance of the athletes, "said Caton.