After our first part about our western part including the Mayenne, Aquitaine and the French Basque coast, to the Spanish Basque coast and padel country that has so much to teach us.
This trip will be done with the intervention of two padel professionals:
Alfonso Zayas : The manager of the Zayas Padel Club chain of 3 and soon 4 padel centers in Sans Sebastian, player known in France for having won the Padel International Trophy at Central Padel (Lyon) last year, and several times champion of the Basque coast of padel about ten years ago.
Andoni Bardasco : Player of the World Padel Tour and from Bilbao. Top 20 Worldwide (2013 / 2014). One of the most talented players of his generation.
San Sebastian: The empire of Alfonso Zayas
Our Hispanic adventure begins in San Sebastian in one of the clubs that wrote the history of the region: Padel 4. Composed in particular of a beautiful fitness room on the terrace overlooking the 4 padel courts, this indoor padel club immerses us immediately in the padel atmosphere.
Its recent renovation (of 2013) hides a rich past padel.
If you come to play San Sebastian, you have every chance to play in one of the clubs managed by Alfonso Zayas.
Today, this padel player whose morphology and his game remind us necessarily Cristian Gutierrez (Top 10 world) is at the head of a real small empire with 3 and soon 4 padel clubs, all on San Sebastian.
Padel 4, thus renovated in 2013, carries on its shoulders part of the Spanish history with its nearly 20 years of seniority. The numbers are not so huge with only 130 socios and 220 non socios. On the other hand, there too, the club is often full notably from 17h until late evening ».
Teresa Diez Orus, the manager and player of padel center 4 tells us that there are regular internal competitions. She set up a points system that requires players to turn and therefore change partners. According to her, «Change of partner allows more usability ". We never play with the same partner.
Alfonso Zayas has also set up a lot of '' downhill climb '' in his clubs. It seems that this is a way of doing that is very appreciated by the players, but also by companies, families, etc. A specific points count is set up that is similar to what is set up by the French Tennis Federation.
With 450 students from September to June, the Zayas Padel club hopes to get out some players for the World Padel Tour in a few years ... "But it will be necessary to wait ..."
Zayas Padel Club therefore manages 3 clubs:
- UPV (University of the Basque Country): 4 terrains with a semi-indoor cover.
- Padel 4: 4 indoor courts
- Soccerworld: 4 fields
- And soon 9 additional land at the municipal club of the Sans Sebastian area.
WPT stage in Sans Sebastian :
Alfonso Zayas also announces the establishment of a stage of the World Padel tour that will take place in Sans Sebastian from the November 28 in the Plaza del Toro for 3 years. It's him and 2 friends who will manage it.
On the lands of Andoni Bardasco: BILBAO
Andoni Bardasco, 22 years old, is already a big padel. Professional player since the age of 16 years whose best ranking so far is the 24e place in individual ranking, the 12e World Place (with former partners Jake Benzal and Gonzalo Rubio).
It was this passionate player, new Star Vie racquet in hand, who welcomed us to learn a little more about him first and then about the history of the padel in Bilbao.
In the heart of Bilbao, in the legendary club Deportivo de Bilbao, Andoni tells us:
«I discovered the padel at 9 years ago. I have almost never played tennis. I am however a football player. I was in a training center. It was necessary to make a choice and I chose the padel by passion. »
Unfortunately, as he was thrown into the top-ranked 10 world, repeated injuries led to surgery last June for a serious wrist injury. Rehabilitation started since the August 10. Let's hope he can get back on the road quickly. (4 months of rehabilitation).
Deportivo de Bilbao: A centennial club
Andoni continues on this centenary club ". He explains to us that this club has seen the padel develop these last 30. Club Deportivo de Bilbao still hosts its old grounds. No wire, we are in a small cage. These 2 fields allowed him to make his first weapons.
Initially, the club was known mainly for its pediment. The Basque Pelota is the heart of this historic site. But the padel has grown more and more. If a part of the padel starts in this club, the land is not really relevant anymore. This is why a padel project is being considered to reinforce this activity.
Padel And Gol: 11 indoor courts
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Andoni Bardasco then sends us to one of the most modern clubs in Bilbao: Padel and Gol
This full indoor complex is located in the outskirts of Bilbao
- First first finding: The 11 padel pitches are full of 18h to 23h. Not a single piece of land.
- Second observation: There are a lot of mixed games.
Padel and Gol is a center composed of 3 Managers: Joe Garis / Alejo Alvarez / Jou Meso. And the managers themselves are surrounded by a number of professors whose level is obviously very high: Juan Manuel Vazquez and Masa Perez. Two former semi-professional players who made a name for themselves during some big Spanish tournaments.
It's Joe Gareis, the sporting director of the center, former international ice hockey and squash player for 10 years, who explains how his club works and with what means. His club counts 350 socios and 150 non socios (Including 300 men 100 women and 100 children). It is a club where the pairs are played regularly in the week with many competitions. But it is amazing to see that there are '' only '' 500 players in his club while 5 hours, are ready for 200 players who will play in this complex.
Yes, these socios and non socios are passionate and come to play regularly. But the ratio is very surprising and shows how much these players are addicted to the sport.
Moreover, after questioning a number of players, it became clear to us that a club style of mind like this was very important to the smooth running of the club.
The sports director also explains that to federate all these players, barbecues were organized every week. It allows you to meet other pairs or find your partner.
Team Padel Magazine
Franck Binisti discovers the padel at the Pyramid Club in 2009 in the Paris region. Since then padel is part of his life. You often see him touring France by going to cover the big French paddle events.