Dubai: The excitement is bubbling as the countdown has begun for the inaugural World Padel League to be held at the Coca-Cola Arena from June 8-11.
The unique team format that involves 24 of the world’s best padel players was revealed at a press conference held in partnership with Dubai Sports Council at their headquarters in Dubai on Thursday. The World Padel League will be the latest addition to some of the top events coming to the Emirate, further enhancing its status as a sporting capital of the world.
The world’s first such league of its kind will see four franchise teams: Jaguars, Panthers, Tigers and Cheetahs battling it out for top honours in a magnificent showcourt at Coca-Cola Arena, with the winners entitled to a prize fund of Dh826,000. The champions will receive Dh550,000, while the runners-up will be awarded Dh275,000. The prize money is a reflection of the league’s commitment to promoting and rewarding excellence in the sport of padel. Each team will play men’s doubles, women’s doubles and a mixed doubles games.
“We are reinventing the whole game in the team format. Every single point matters. Each game will be of one set each and every set will matter towards the final outcome. It’s going to be a high-octane game. We will have two matches a day with a total of six sets. Players will be fighting for every single point for the glittering World Padel League Trophy and huge prize. We want to make this the richest franchise-based padel tournament across the globe,” Rajesh Banga, Chairman, World Padel League, told the gathering.
“We are honoured to have the support of our esteemed strategic partners for the first-ever World Padel League. Our shared vision to host the WPL in Dubai is not only fuelled by our passion for the sport, but also by the visionary leadership of the UAE that recognises the potential of bringing and nurturing unique ideas in spectator sports to Dubai. With their unwavering support, we anticipate witnessing strong and exhilarating competition at our upcoming event. Together, we are committed to promoting padel in the UAE and beyond, and we look forward to making this an iconic tournament, which will be part of a series of events on the court and definitely The Greatest Show on Court,” he added.
Pivotal annual event
“We are pleased to once again present an international tournament that will kick off in Dubai and reach a global audience. It will attract a select group of the world’s top-ranked male and female players, including those ranked at the pinnacle. Last year, we collaborated with the same organisers to launch the World Tennis League, which featured an elite list of players competing in four teams. The tournament achieved significant success. Today, we are excited to announce the launch of a new tournament in padel, adopting the same format. Four teams comprising elite players, both male and female, will compete for the championship in the prestigious Coca-Cola Arena. It is poised to become a pivotal annual event on Dubai’s sporting calendar,” said Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council.
The organisers are already looking at expanding the tournament and ensure all roads lead to Dubai. The league is also planning to adopt their own rankings for the future events.
“As we grow, the prize money will keep increasing. The dream scenario for us is to move it to three legs. First in Mexico, as the sport is born there, second in Europe, and the third in Dubai. All roads lead to Dubai. A total of 10 days of action will see every single point count.”
Along with a strong list of players, the organisers have also packaged plenty of entertainment for the fans in true Dubai style. Alongside the action-packed matches, the World Padel League is also bringing three concerts featuring renowned international artists. On June 8, rising star Shamma Hamdan will perform, followed by the long-awaited return of Simply Red on June 9 after 20 years. Finally, on June 11, award-winning Bollywood composer Mithoon will perform alongside several playback singers for an evening of the biggest hits from the last decade.
Elite players and entertainers
“Coca-Cola Arena is committed to bringing the best in sport and entertainment to the UAE. Hosting this inaugural event is a testament to our dedication to that goal. We look forward to welcoming fans of Padel from around the world to our state-of-the-art arena and witnessing the incredible athleticism and skill of these elite players,” said Mark Jan Kar, General Manager of Coca-Cola Arena.
The World Padel League will be hosted in association with print partner Gulf News, radio partner Channel 4 Network, and supported by Emirates NBD.
Tickets are available on Platinum List, the Coca-Cola Arena Dubai’s official website, and Virgin Megastore. For more information, visit www.wplworld.com or call +971 58 592 6993.
The Jaguars will comprise some of the top-ranked players globally, including Alejandra Salazar Bengoechea and Gemma Triay, both world-ranked No. 1, leading the team. They will be joined by Carlos Daniel Gutierrez, ranked fifth globally, and Franco Stupaczuk, ranked eighth. The team will also feature Jeronimo Gonzalez Luque, ranked 13th, and Carolina Navarro Bjork, ranked 29, completing the Jaguars’ talented line-up.
The Panthers team are set to showcase impressive padel players, such as Agustin Tapia, currently ranked third globally. He will be joined by his fellow countryman Arturo Coello, who is ranked fourth. The team will also feature Beatriz Gonzalez, currently ranked fifth, and Lucia Sainz, ranked eighth. The ninth-ranked Aranzazu Osoro and Alejandro Ruiz Granados, ranked 14, complete the Panthers’ line-up.
The Tigers have an equally robust line-up, including Marta Ortega, who holds the world ranking of fifth, and Francisco Navarro Compan, ranked ninth. The team also boasts talents like Victoria Iglesias Segador, ranked 10th, and the 11th-ranked Federico Chingotto. Other key players include Juan Tello, ranked 12, and 18th-ranked Delfina Brea Senesi.
The Cheetahs are a formidable team, made up of Ariana Sanchez and Paula Josemaria, both ranked third globally, while Fernando Belasteguin is ranked sixth. Maria Virginia Riera is also a strong player, ranked seventh, and the team is further bolstered by the skills of 10th-ranked Pablo Lima and Miguel Yanguas, ranked 19th.