Last week, all eyes in the world of padel were focused on Madrid, which has never more deserved its title as world capital of our sport.
The Hexagon Cup, a competition of a different kind, was held in the historic hall of the padel what is the Madrid Arena. And we must admit, our experience as fans of padel was simply exciting. Carried by the slogan “For the Fans. For the Players. For the Game”, the Hexagon Cup did not hide its ambition to make a big impact in its first edition.
The innovative concept consisted of bringing together the best current players and the greatest hopes of the discipline in a team competition. Equipped with impressive prize money – no less than one million euros! – and deciding to place the fan of padel at the heart of the event, this Hexagon Cup brought together a priori all the ingredients necessary for the success of what can already be described as a “ padel » at the start of 2024.
Moreover, the organizers showed their ambition from the presentation of the Madrid meeting and want to make their Hexagon Cup a lasting and unmissable event thanks to its exceptional line-up of players, its innovative ideas, and even its originality.
Carlos Almazán, player padel legendary Spaniard and director of institutional relations for the Hexagon Cup, declared bluntly: “It’s an ambitious tournament […] which wants to transform the padel. The objective is to pay homage to the sport that we know and which has given us so much, while taking it to never-before-reached heights. Here you will find the best players in the world, an inclusive and original competition format and an impactful fan experience. […] We have created an absolutely exciting new sports and entertainment experience, like no other existing in the world of padel. "
But then why this new event of padel Did it raise so many expectations?
An extraordinary casting
Six teams participated in the tournament. Each of these teams was supported by a big name in sport or entertainment. For this first experience of the Hexagon Team, it was the Rafa Nadal Academy named after the tennis player and standard-bearer of the Lyon brand. Babolat that we no longer present, the Bella Puerto Rico Team sponsored by a large industrial group of the Caribbean island, the RL9 team of Robert Lewandowski, famous Polish striker of Football Club Barcelona, the ElevenEleven of Eva Longoria, famous actress American or the AD/Vantage Team of Scottish tennis player Andy Murray.
As for the players, the tournament public was offered an extraordinary field composed of a constellation of star players among whom we found the members of the two n°1 pairs which are Paula Josemaría – Ariana Sánchez and Arturo Coello – Agustin Tapia.
To generate even more interest, this time, these champions were not associated and defended the colors of opposing teams!
Like the world No. 1s, the “Superpibes” Franco Stupaczuk and Martin Di Nenno also crossed swords with new partners. In addition, Alejandra Salazar, Paquito Navarro and Juan Martin Diaz, sacred monsters of padel, contributed to making the list of participants even richer and more exceptional. Moreover, we advise you to watch and rewatch the match played on Wednesday between Paquito Navarro and Juan Martin Diaz, a true legend who bowed out this week, to the talented Jon Sanz and Augustin Tapia.
Small downside, the absence in the “20 by 10” of Fernando Belasteguin, insufficiently recovered from a nasty elbow injury which prevented him from taking part in the competition. However, the Argentinian was indeed on the sidelines bringing his experience and enthusiasm to his team. If you like it padel, the idea of a “Next Gen” tournament is an opportunity to discover the future stars of the discipline. If we had to mention a few players who caught our attention, let us cite the Argentinian Alex Chozas, impressive at the start of the competition, and the Spaniard Guillermo Collado, full of talent. Two other great hopes are to be followed this season for their padel and their surname is Enzo and Rodrigo, respective brothers of Claudia Jensen and King Arturo Coello. As we can see, the poster rose to the height of the ambitions of the promoters of the exhibition tournament. But that's not all.
An original format for padel
Taking ingredients from the Rod Laver Cup and the Kings League, the Hexagon Cup is a team competition. It is divided into two groups of three teams. The first two in the ranking of each group are qualified to compete in the final phase in the form of 'Final Four'. Each of the participating teams presents a women's pair, a men's pair and a so-called "Next Gen" men's pair on the track, with players under 23 years old.
Small disappointment however for enthusiasts of padel that we are at
After five days of competition that was tougher than expected, the least we can say is that the players are buying in and loving it! Paquito Navarro underlines this: “All the players of padel love participating in team competitions, and this tournament combines everything a player wants. The team format, high-level players, a […] relaxed atmosphere, playing with future stars, (all this) makes this tournament very attractive.”
Another particularity of this unique meeting is that the participants are not usual partners on the professional circuit so that the public attends unique matches. The format also guarantees high-level opposition every day, not just in the later rounds. A successful bet considering the first three days dedicated to qualifying group matches. Finally, the constitution of the teams should also be highlighted. In fact, the team managers first designated a player and a franchise player. The latter then participated in a draft, and chose the other members who make up their team, namely an experienced player and a pair of young players to take part in the “Next Gen” tournament.
To make the fan experience even more attractive, the Hexagon Cup team called on public voting to select its players. Enrique Buenaventura, founder and member of the Hexagon Cup Advisory Board, declares: “We are a very special and very different competition”.
Off the track, the Hexagon Cup also focuses on novelty and innovation. The Fan Zone had received special attention from the organizers who had put together an attractive program with numerous autograph signing sessions, unrivaled proximity between the champions and their fans, live concerts, entertainment of all kinds... Shopaholics have not been forgotten with brand stands, exhibitors and sponsors often new to the small world of padel. The catering and VIP reception areas are particularly careful to stand out.
In summary, everything has been thought of and designed to offer an unforgettable experience to lovers of padel and entertainment. Does the result live up to the stated ambitions? A first immediate assessment can be made based on feelings.
Does the Hexagon Cup keep its promises?
By relying on massive communication and resources, the Hexagon Cup wants to shake up the world of padel and establish itself as a major event from its first edition. It must be said that the timing is rather opportune at a time when the professional circuit World Padel Tour, centered on Spain, is absorbed by a circuit Premier Padel more international. The void left in Spain, where the padel is strong and powerful with 8 million practitioners, is conducive to the arrival of new players.
This innovative project combines sport and spectacle by focusing on a team competition and deliberately placing the fan at the center of the experience. Over the last two years, and without wanting to get involved in a partisan war for one or the other professional circuit, we can see that the players have seen their conditions improve very significantly. It must be said that we came from a long way away. On the other hand, we sometimes had the feeling that aficionados were somewhat forgotten in the latest battles between decision-makers and influencers of the discipline.
The philosophy of the Hexagon Cup seems to respond to a demand that has so far been unsatisfied. Paquito Navarro made no mistake and already stated during the official presentation of the event: “It's an event where everyone will have fun, the players and especially the fans!”.
Without knowing whether the Hexagon Cup is economically viable in the long term while retaining all its specificities, and if we look at it from the spectator's point of view, the objectives seem to have been achieved. The slogan, however ambitious, “For the Fans. For the Players. For the Game.” is not usurped if we refer to the first very positive and enthusiastic feedback. Leading players, spectacle around the slopes and numerous interactions between the champions and their fans, these are the main ingredients of the cocktail offered by the Hexagon Cup.
However, we will have to be attentive to the follow-up given by investors regarding the renewal of the event next year and the prospects for development of such an ambitious initiative. Within the team ofX3 Padel, we will not fail to return to this subject in the days and weeks to come by trying to offer you from Madrid some tangible answers gleaned from the organization, the participating professionals and the public.
See you soon in Madrid and live the padel !
Stéphane Rodriguez is passionate about padel. Particularly known and recognized in the Lyon region, he now lives in Madrid and is the founder of X3 Padel, a structure specializing in internships padel.