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World No 1 Ariana Sanchez will be eager to leave her mark in the World Padel League, which begins on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The inaugural World Padel League is set to usher in a new era for the fastest growing sport in the world as 24 of the world’s best will be in action from Thursday to Sunday, showcasing their skills at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, the sporting capital of the world. Adding to the excitement is the presence of four UAE stars (one each in four teams), whose addition is set to bolster the sport in the country.

A perfect blend of sport and entertainment — concerts by Simply Red, Nicky Romero and Mithoon and Friends — in Dubai, the Greatest Show on the Court is set to enthral the fans over the next four days.

Huge prize fund

Four teams — Jaguars, Panthers, Tigers and Cheetahs — will be competing for the top honours in the World Padel League for a total 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 of one set each.

Participating players include Ariana Sanchez and Paula Josemaria both ranked No 1 as well as Alejandra Salazar Bengoechea and Gemma Triay, both ranked No 3 in the world. Other notable players include Arturo Coello, ranked No 4 in the men’s division. Also competing are Carlos Daniel Gutierrez, ranked No 5, and Beatriz Gonzalez and Marta Ortega, both ranked No 5 and 6 respectively in the women’s division. Over four days, these top players will showcase their skills in intense matches, providing non-stop action and entertainment for fans.

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Top-ranked Paula Josemaria will be leading the Cheetas challenge in the World Padel League. Image Credit: Supplied

Reasonable targets

Abdulla Ahli, fourth-ranked UAE player, is excited to be part of the grand show and has set himself a reasonable targets while being part of the star-studded show.

“It’s an honour for us to play with the professional players, this experience is something new for us. We can learn a lot from these players, their preparation before matches, how they are focused during matches and so on,” Ahli told Gulf News ahead of his participation in the Greatest Show on the Court. Ahli is a highly skilled player with remarkable victories, including the Nad Al Sheba International Padel Championship, the Arab Champions Cup and the GCC Padel Cup.

“After the World Cup last October, it is the second time we are getting a chance like this. Playing against the top players, we don’t get these chances everyday. My goal is to learn as much as possible from the event.”

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Arturo Coello, ranked No 4 in the men’s division will be one of the main contenders for Panthers. Image Credit: Supplied

Big encouragement

Abdulla will be joined by young UAE talent Abdullah Abdullah, Fares Aljanahi and Salem Alhouli in a move designed to give the home stars the required exposure in the big league, but Abdulla is hoping to see more players in the coming years.

“It’s a move that is aimed at improving the sport in the country. Now we are only four player, may be next there will be more players. It will also encourage others to train harder and do their best and grab their spots and replace us,” he added. “I have been playing against these players almost every day, so it is not going to be different. At the end we are all friends and brothers.”

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Abdulla Ahli, UAE's fourth-ranked player, is aiming to learn as much from the experience of playing with and against international stars. Image Credit: Supplied

Another UAE player Mohammad Aljanahi, who is nursing an injury and hence missed the cut for the World Padel League, feels events like these will take the fastest growing sport to a dizzy heights. Mohammad is happy that his brother Fares will be playing in the showpiece.

Rapid strides

Padel has made rapid strides during the last decade and the ease of playing at the amateur level is one of the reasons for the development of numerous courts across the country. The UAE has seen the sport grow between 40 to 50 per cent annually and the pandemic also played a big role in boosting the popularity as people were looking to find ways to keep them active.

On the professional level, padel has seen a rise in the number of tournaments and ranking points.

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Fares Aljanahi is in the Panthers team and is eager to play with his idol Arturo Coello. Image Credit: Supplied

“In 2017 there would be one tournament every six months and now in 2023 you have a minimum five tournaments with different categories each weekend. Such is the growth,” Mohammad Aljanahi added.

Reinventing the game

“We are reinventing the whole game in the team format. 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, had said during the launch of the event.

Every game, every set, single point towards the final outcome. Let’s wait for the action to begin.

Match schedule:

Day 1 — June 8

2pm: Cheetahs vs Jaguars

6pm: Panthers vs Tigers

Day 2 — June 9

2pm: Cheetahs vs Jaguars

6pm: Panthers vs Tigers

Day 3 — June 10

2pm: Cheetahs vs Jaguars

6pm: Panthers vs Tigers

Day 4 — June 11:

2:00pm: WPL Finals


June 9: Simply Red, 9.30pm

June 10: Nicky Romero, 9:30pm

June 11: Mithoon and friends, 7:00pm

Book your tickets now on Coca-Cola Arena’s official website, Platinum List, and Virgin Megastore. Tickets for Day 1 and Day 4 are at a special rate of Dh99 only and a single ticket is for both the padel matches and the concerts on Day 2 and Day 3.

For more information, visit or call +971 58 592 6993.