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The growth of padel in the US market

por Claudia Villanueva

Today we talk with Peter Alonso Martinez, former professional padel player in WPT, lover of this sport since he was 9 years old and a great friend of PadelMBA.

He was born in Madrid 34 years ago, has competed for 13 years on the world circuit and is currently a player and businessman in the United States.

A couple of years ago his professional career took a turn and he dedicated himself to promoting padel in the United States. Today he tells us how the sport is evolving in the country.

Tell us about padel in the USA today, is it a sport that is growing in popularity?

Padel is starting to be known in the U.S. Until recently it was a great unknown, with few courts and in very marked places; but there are more and more courts, more club projects and it is becoming more and more known.

How has the evolution of padel competition in the USA been?

It is a competition that is far from the type of competition we are used to like the WPT, but the level is improving rapidly. In addition, new private circuits are being created that look very good.

In line with what you said above, what are the most significant differences between the USA and Spain in terms of padel?

In Spain it is a mature sport, it has been around for many years and there is knowledge of the sport in all the major areas.

There are many trained professionals due to their experience and study of the sport, and here it is a sport that has just begun to run a long career. It is a very ambitious challenge, but at the same time an exciting one.

How many padel clubs are there at the moment and what is the forecast for this year?

In Miami alone there are already about 10 clubs and the plan is to reach 20 by the end of the year.

Speaking of padel taking off, how important was the WPT Miami for the visibility and publicity of padel?

I think it was a very good moment. I was a player in 2017 when the first World Padel Tour Miami was played and there was almost no public, you only saw some Latinos watching padel with free entry.

Last year it was full starting on the first day and you saw a lot of Americans as well. The feeling was wonderful.

In terms of training and professionalisation, what level of padel training is there in the U.S. Do you think there is a need for professionals in the sector?

There are some very good coaches, but not of US nationality because they are just starting out. I think it is necessary to train future coaches with a very professional programme, as they will be a fundamental part of the development of the sport.

To conclude, what do you think is needed for padel to finally flourish there?

Time, it is only a matter of time. There are bureaucratic problems in obtaining permits with the clubs, but this will only delay this expansion a little.

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