King Bela was visiting the Pyramids club for an exhibition with its new equipment manufacturer Wilson. The Argentinian gives us an exclusive interview.

Relaxed and confident, he confides in Lorenzo Lecci López on the evolution of his game, his relationship with Wilson, and hopes that the “bickering” between the padel leaders can end.

“Les Pyramides, a prestigious club”

Lorenzo Lecci López: Ten years ago, you came to inaugurate the first padel court in the entire Paris region. And today you are back and there are 10 courts.

Fernando Belasteguin: “Yes, I remembered coming to this great club. The very first land! Ten years have passed, and iI have no doubts that not only this club, but also Paris and all of France, are not foreign to the great development que knows and will know padel in the world.

Today, seeing such a prestigious club like the Pyramides club with 7 pitches and a semi-covered structure, is a great joy. I have no doubts: in the future I will see many more padel courts. ”

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The evolution of “Rey”

Lorenzo Lecci López: What is the main difference in the game between the Bela of 2010 and the Bela of today?

Fernando Belasteguin: “I had to evolve on my attack shots. I try to surprise with ever shorter timing. If I want to stay competitive, I have to adapt to the evolution of padel. In 2020, I am not the same player as in 2010, and I will be different again next year. ”

Lorenzo Lecci López: Fernando, on a human level, what has changed? Maturity ? The experience?

Fernando Belasteguin: “In 2010, my second daughter was born. Children change you forever, and that's the biggest change. Sportingly, my body still allows me to train 100% every day, even though I need more rest. ”

His performance on the World Padel Tour

Lorenzo Lecci López: In the semi-finals of the Menorca tournament, you win with Tapia an incredible match against the most fit pair of the moment (Lebron / Galan). What were the keys to this opposition?

Fernando Belasteguin: “We kept the mental intensity during the two hours of the match. It allowed us to seize the opportunities they gave us at certain points in the game. This year, they are the best. They've won 4 out of 7 tournaments. When the best pair of the year gives you a chance, grab it. We knew how to seize it, but the key was to stay focused throughout the game."

Lorenzo Lecci López: How do you feel about the introduction of “Punto de Oro” on the WPT?

Fernando Belasteguin: “As with all changes over which the player has no influence: I have a contract with the WPT, and they told me that this year I have to play with Punto de Oro. I had two options then: to complain, but I was going to waste a lot of energy and time; or else train and adapt to Punto de Oro. I chose the second option. The WPT has the power to make rules, so I'm always going to adapt. I don't wonder if I like it or not, those are the conditions. ”

Lorenzo Lecci López: Many fans are calling for the reintroduction of winning 3-set matches for the Masters finals. Are you for

Fernando Belasteguin: “The current competitive system is to play every day. There were straight sets 5 years ago, but it didn't last. If there are 6-set finals, they should give us at least one day off. The risk is to see a half on Saturday afternoon at 5 o'clock, and to have to play a match in 3 sets on Sunday morning. I do not think it is healthy for the player and for the sport: there is a high risk of injury. It's not interesting for the WPT, because if the player, who is the most important asset, gets injured, then the sport loses its interest ”

“Lebron and Galan can beat my record”

Lorenzo Lecci López: Many fans on social media believe that your achievement of staying 16 years in the No. XNUMX spot in the world can never be matched. Do you think this record can be broken one day?

Fernando Belasteguin: "Yes, because if I did it, it is possible. I sometimes hear that the padel before was less competitive, but that is not true. Padel is a doubles sport, and when the best player on the right and the best player on the left come together, as we did with JM Diaz, then this pair can remain No.1 for all these years. I was able to continue with Pablo Lima, who was the best player on the right side. This year for example, two excellent players have teamed up (Lebron and Galan), they are young and can do it. ”

“Wilson wants to grow padel”

Lorenzo Lecci López: How was this project built with Wilson?

Fernando Belasteguin: “Everything was very fast. Wilson contacted me in September-October last year. My contract ended with my previous brand. We met with Wilson, and the discussion was very quick. The first thing they told me, and that's why I'm with Wilson: “We want to help padel to grow as a sport globally”.

Before even talking about economic conditions, the future or whatever, I told them they could count on me for this project. The padel gave me everything. This sport has allowed me to help my family in Argentina, Spain.

When the world No. 1 brand in racquet sports Wilson asked me to develop the sport that gave me everything, and to make it grow all over the world, they convinced me from the first discussion. To agree on the terms of the contract and the new W Bela brand, it was very easy. I am delighted ! I was used to working with multi-nationals, but Wilson proved me to be at another level. ”

Lorenzo Lecci López: Let's talk about your snowshoes. Are there any changes compared to the other rackets you used that correspond to the evolution of your game?

Fernando Belasteguin: “In the W Bela line we have 3 rackets. The Pro, the Elite and the Team. The Pro is the “pala” I play with. We wanted to make the racquet I play with accessible to the public. I wanted the Wilson racquet to have my identity.

We worked on the “heart” in the center of the racquet, because I am a player who plays with his heart, and on the veins at the ends of the racquet. This allows the racquet to be very stable and strong, which corresponds to my game. On the other racquets in the range, we keep the same design with the only difference being the density of the materials.

For pro players, the racquet is stiffer. For the Elite, it is more flexible and the balance of the racket is at the center. On the Team, it is even more flexible with the balance a little more towards the tip, so that the amateur player can have power with less ample movements.

I am very happy because it is the first time that a brand has for all types of players the same structure and the same racquet as that of a professional player."

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“I thought I would never play again”

Lorenzo Lecci López: “Un Belasteguin nunca se rinde ”{A Belasteguin never gives up}, here is what is written on the strap of the rackets of the W Bela range. Was this a request from you, or an idea from Wilson?

Fernando Belasteguin: "It's a very nice touch from the brand. This sentence remained engraved in 2018. After 16 years and 8 months as world No. 1, I hurt my elbow tendon, which prevents me from playing for 5 months.

It seemed like it was the end for me, that I couldn't play padel anymore. 5 months later, and thanks to the points I had earned earlier in the season, I can participate in the Master. I won this Master. I had in my bag, a drawing of my daughter Sofia. I was training day and night, but the elbow was not improving.

a bela nunca se rinde photo

This phrase I repeat to my children every time they do something. One day, my daughter saw me sad and gave me the drawing, saying to me “don't forget the sentence you always tell us”. I always kept it in my bag, and when I won the Master, I wanted to dedicate this victory to him.

The fact that every Wilson racquet that sells in the world has this phrase handwritten, as a father it gives me goosebumps. It's a memory for life. ”

Continued from'interview HERE.

Lorenzo Lecci López

By his names, we can guess his Spanish and Italian origins. Lorenzo is a polyglot passionate about sport: journalism by vocation and events by adoration are his two legs. Its ambition is to cover the biggest sporting events (Olympics and Worlds). He is interested in the padel situation in France, and offers perspectives for optimal development.