Here is a list of the current ten best male padel players as we head into the 2020 season. It contains a mix of wiry experience and youthful energy.

It will be interesting to see how the season plays out with many players just outside the top ten that are looking for either a comeback or breakout 2020.

1. Francisco Navarro Compan

Paquito Navarro
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Born: 10 February 1989 in Sevilla, Spain
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,81m
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 382
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 289/93
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 15
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 16 (5 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Juan Lebron Chincoa

Francisco, best known as Paquito, started playing padel at the age of 5.  His talent was spotted early on when, at age 9, he started winning titles in junior tournaments. By age 20 he was top-ranked when he won the World Cup in his category.  Since then, Paquito hasn’t stopped winning titles. He is the only Spanish player who has been Spanish Champion across all age categories – from junior to elite titles.

Paquito (nicknamed “The Hurricane”), started playing professionally in 2009 and for the next 10 years, he would remain on the top 10 ranked players on the WPT ranking list, often than not, amongst the top 5. 

Today, Paquito is one of Spain’s most celebrated and popular players with a huge fan base. You just have to switch on the television and listen to the Spanish commentators going wild, shouting, Paquito -Paquito-Paquitooooo, every time Paquito plays a winner.

His charisma combined with his deadly skill and fearsome presence on court makes him the Rafael Nadal of padel in Spain. His training involves many hours on court combined with regular gym workouts.

Partner 2020. After an explosive 2019 season paired with Juan Lebrón, Paquito is paired with Pablo Lima as 3rd ranked team in 2020. Paquito (“Hurricane”) and Lima (“Master”) are no strangers when it comes to being rivals as well as friends both on and off-court. They paired up briefly in 2018, playing two tournaments to reach the final both times, showing that they have what it takes to reach the top. Can they do it?

2. Juan Lebron Chincoa

Juan Lebron
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Born: 30 January 1995 in Puerto de Santa Maria, Andalucia, Spain
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,84m
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 268
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 161/107
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 15
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 5 (5 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Francisco Navarro Compan

Juan Lebrón, the new kid on the “court”, showed that he is a force to be
reckoned with early on in his career. Lebrón stood out as a junior, winning the
Spanish Junior Championships title several times.  

Lebrón, nicknamed “Wolf,” started his professional career in 2016, and quickly became a crowd favorite, not only for his exceptional talent but also for his handsome looks.

His meteoric rise to the top culminated in an explosive 2019 season, which saw him make history when he became the first Spanish born WPT number one player in Sao Paulo in Brazil, previously held by Latin America players since 2013!

Lebrón ended the season joined number one paired with Paquito Navarro on the WPT rankings, once again, making history by becoming the first Spanish players ever to take the top position on the rankings list. 

New Partner 2020.  Juan Lebrón is paired with Ale Galán, forming a formidable pair. Tall, fearless and aggressive in their playing style, they start the 2020 season as the top-ranked team, determined to defend the position. Can’t wait to watch these two young lions take on the sleek cheetahs who have already found their stride in a race they’ve come to win many times before.

3. Alejandro Galan Romo

Ale Galan
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Born: 15 May 1996 in Madrid, Spain
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,86m
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 252
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 166/86
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 10
  • WPT Pro Since: 2014
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 7 (5 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Pablo Lima

Alé Galán (nickname Gallant) has consistently worked his way up to the top since 2016 when he turned professional. He’s among the new generation of young players hungry for the top spot, ready to take on the old guard of experienced players with their youth, talent, and speed on the court.

At the age of 5, Ale Galán started fooling around playing padel with his sister Alba (ranked 18th) and the neighborhood kids without realizing they were playing padel.

He quickly caught on and started playing competitively at the age of 7, but claims he never really achieved much success during this time.  However, all this changed when at age 18, he was awarded a sports scholarship at a prestigious Padel Academy in Madrid.

Since then, Ale Galán has never looked back as he hammered his way into the number three spot at the end of a stellar 2019 season. He is the youngest player in the top 10ranking list.

In spite of his success, Alé Galán remains humble at heart, never forgetting his humble beginnings in a poor part of Madrid where family and friends are still everything. He admits though, that his one big fear on the court is facing a big lob played by the opponent! 

New Partner 2020:  Ale Galán will be teamed up with Juan Lebrón the Wolf! What a scary and exciting combination! Can’t wait to see these two young “wolves” set the court on fire in 2020!

As the number one ranked, they’ll start the season under great pressure, off the bat they’ll have to fight hard for their place at the top, facing the best of the best on the court.

4. Carlos Daniel Gutierrez

Sanyo Gutierrez
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Born: 15 June 1984 in San Luis, Argentina
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,77m
  • Preferred Playing Position: Forehand court
  • WPT Matches played: 401
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 315/86
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 13
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 24 (5 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Maximiliano Sanchez

At age 36, Sanyo Gutiérrez is one of the most celebrated and experienced players on the WPT circuit today. He started playing padel at age 11 in his home country Argentina, during the time that the sport was growing fast in popularity.

He initially played a bit of tennis but was encouraged by his father and brother, who themselves switched from tennis to padel, to take up padel instead.  Although he enjoyed playing football, Sanyo knew from early on that he was going to make padel his career.

He entered the professional circuit at the age of 15 in the junior category, and soon his magic on the court made an impression.  To advance his career, he decided to move to Spain in 2006.

He played his first Masters Finals in 2011 and since has never looked back. With his huge talent, total dedication and commitment to the sport, his career has been growing from strength to strength. 

But it was when he re-teamed with fellow countryman, Maxi Sanchez, that he reached the pinnacle of success in a glorifying 2018 season. The Argentine duo not only managed to win 8 titles but was also crowned Best Male Couple 2018 that saw them ranked number one on the World Padel Tour rankings.

To keep his competitive edge playing at the top level, Sanyo trains about four hours per day to keep him both physically and mentally fit.

New Partner 2020: Sanyo Guitierrez is joining forces with up and coming talent, Franco (Stupa) Stupaczuk, combining experience and skill with the speed and fearlessness of Stupaczuk’s youth. Starting the 2020 season as 3rd ranked just below Ale Galán – Juan Lebrón at number one and Paquito Navarro – Pablo Lima at number two, team Sanyo/Stupa will have to pull out all the stops to reach the very top. Can they do it?

5. Maximiliano Sanchez

Maxi Sanchez
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Born: 15 December 1986 in Villa Mercedes, Argentina
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,83m
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 385
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 293/92
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 13
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 18 (5 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Carlos Daniel Gutierrez

Argentine Maxi (the “Shark”) Sánchez is known for both his determination and aggressiveness on the court, fighting for each point until the very last.

Encouraged by his parents, he started playing padel at the age of 7. By the age of 13, he decided to dedicate himself to the sport of padel. Like his compatriot and teammate, Sanyo Gutiérrez, he decided to move to Spain to advance his career.

Maxi turned professional in 2006 and by the end of the 2013-2016 season, he was riding the crest of the wave as three times Masters Final Champion,  twice with Sanyo Gutiérrez (2013/ 2014), and once with Juan Martín Diaz in 2015. By the end of 2016, Maxi the “Shark” was Word Padel Tour Champion, a clear sign he wasn’t gonna stop anytime soon.  

His dedication and commitment paid off when he was awarded the Best Male Team 2018 title together with teammate Sanyo Gutiérrez, once again, finding himself at the top of the game. He still plays for the Argentinian team in the World Championships that takes place every three years.

However, Maxi the “Shark “is not without heart.  Away from the court, Maxi is a dedicated family man, who likes to chill out and spend quality time with his kids when he is not training or competing somewhere else around the world.   

New Partner 2020: Maxi the “Shark” is far from finished yet. He’s hungrier than ever and will be fighting for the sought after top spot once again reuniting with his teammate, Matias Diaz, who is equally hungry for the title. Will they succeed?

6. Pablo Lima

Pablo Lima
  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Born: 11 October 1986 in Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Residence: Bilbao, Spain
  • Height: 1,80
  • Preferred Playing Position: Forehand court
  • WPT Matches played: 397
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 342/55
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 53
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 45 (3 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Alejandro Galan Romo

Pablo Lima’s rise to the top was very quick. He’s not called “the Master” for nothing.  His very name and presence on court combined with his speed and masterful skill are enough to intimidate his opponents before the game has even started. 

Pablo
started playing padel at the age of 9 under the guidance of his father turned
coach back in his home country Brazil. He soon established himself as an exceptional
talent, getting selected to play for the Brazilian Junior Team, a position that
allowed him entry into the Spanish Junior Championships in 2004.  

Living Argentine padel legend, Roby Gattiker was so impressed by the youngster’s talent that he convinced Lima to partner with him during the 2006-2007 seasons. Since then, Lima’s masterful skills on-court has won him a string of medals in an illustrious WPT career spanning seven years, winning 345 matches played out of a total of 400 matches played.

The 34-year-old Lima once again proved his masterful skills when he was named the Best Player in the Barcelona Masters Final 2019. In an explosive final against the formidable pairing of Bela and Tapia, Lima made only three – get that – 3 unforced errors during the entirety of the match! Proving once and for all that Pablo Lima is the Master of the Masters!

New Partner
2020
: Pablo Lima (“The Master”) is teamed with Paquito Navarro (“The
Hurricane”) – combining the sleek brilliance of the master with the aggressiveness
and relentlessness of the hurricane. Be warned. Be prepared. This is going to
be one hell of a ride.  Starting the season
as 2nd ranked couple, we can’t wait to watch the drama unfold.

7. Fernando Belasteguin

Fernando Belasteguin
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Born: 19 May 1979 in Pehuajo, Argentina
  • Residence: Barcelona, Spain
  • Height: 1,80
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 382
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 345/37
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 63
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 57 (1 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Agustin Tapia

Belasteguin, better known as “Bela” for short, is the most successful and celebrated player on the WPT circuit to date, with a record 16 consecutive years as the number 1 ranked player in the world, earning him the nickname, “Messi Pedal,” meaning “unbeatable/ unstoppable”.  

As a youngster, Bela first stepped onto the padel court in Pehuajó, Buenos Aires, with only the neighbor’s chickens to watch him play. Little did he know back then that a few years later, he would become a padel sensation whose presence on the court would fill up the stands with hundreds of devoted fans cheering him on.

In the end,
the boy who loved football ended up choosing padel and was chosen by padel. He
made history when at age 22, he became the youngest number 1 player in the
world, a title he would hold for 16 years and 8 months, having never been
achieved before or since.  

Bela made
his debut on the professional circuit in 1995 age 15, and 5 years later, he won
Argentina’s Best Player award.  In 2001
he paired up with Spanish legend, Juan Martín Diaz, and they remained the
number 1 couple for 14 consecutive years, holding the unbeatable record for 1
year and 9 months, making them the most successful couple in padel history and
the “kings of the court”.

By the end
of 2015, teamed with Brazilian sensation, Pablo Lima, Bela continued reigning
the circuit as the “king of the court” also referred to as the “Master.” Sadly,
his reign was cut short by nagging injuries, forcing him into retirement by
2018.   

In spite of his success on the court, Bela remains humble at heart. When asked whether he has his many medals and trophies on display at home, he simply said: “My wife (a dentist) doesn’t get a medal to show off every time she’s done four implants.” 

Besides, he doesn’t want his kids to have their father’s success on the padel court weigh them down growing up. As far as he is concerned, he is their father and not the padel champion, that’s all that counts.

In 2015, Bela published his biography, simply titled “This Is My Story” (available on Amazon Kindle in English), the prologue was written by his good friend and celebrated FC Barcelona footballer Andrés Iniesta. The proceeds from the sales are being donated to a few select charities, including the Belasteguín Padel School in the city of Bolívar, Buenos Aires, Argentina, a youth development academy for disadvantaged kids from poor families.  

Partner 2020:  Determined to reclaim the throne, Bela is once again teamed with his 2019 “come back” partner, the young and talented Agustín Tapia, who he doubles in age. Being with Agustín has given him renewed energy, and excitement for the game. “I want to play until I see that I have no chance of winning”, he told the Spanish Newspaper, EL MONDO.   Watch out, “The King” is back! 

8. Franco Stupaczuk

Franco Stupaczuk
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Born: 25 March 1996 in Chaco, Argentina
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,80
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 256
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 177/79
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 10
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 7 (1 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Matias Diaz Sangiorgio

Argentine Franco (Stupa) Stupaczuk’s talent caught the attention of the media from an early age when he started to win junior tournaments.  By the age of 8, he was Argentina U-12 Champion.

By the age of 15, he knew that padel was to be his full-time career.  In 2012 he participated in the Padel World Cup and at 16 became Argentine Padel Association’s number one player.  He debuted on the World Padel Tour in 2016 and barely three years later at age 23 is ranked number 8, finding himself amongst some of the best players in the world. But he’s not planning to stop here.

Stupa’s goal is to become the number one player on the WPT Rankings. He knows that to achieve his goal requires hard work. His training and nutrition are built around the latest science in sports development.  He trains on average between 4-5 hours per day Monday to Friday, split between fitness and court workouts in the morning before he hits the gym for another 90 minutes in the afternoon.

With a tight
calendar and little free time, Stupa tries to rest and relax as much as
possible, enjoying going to the movies and doing a bit of traveling with his
girlfriend before getting ready for the next tournament. But he doesn’t
complain. He knows what it takes to get to the top.

Partner 2020: To reach his goal of the number one spot, Stupa is joining forces with Sanyo Gutierrez, one of the most celebrated and experienced players on the WPT circuit. Combining youth and experience, Stupa and Sanyo start the season as the 3rd-ranked couple with them having to beat the best of the best in the world. Can Stupa reach his goal to be the number 1 in the world by 2020?

9. Agustin Tapia

Agustin Tapia
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Born: 24 July 1999 in Catamarca, Argentina
  • Residence: Barcelona, Spain
  • Height: 1,79
  • Preferred Playing Position: Backhand court
  • WPT Matches played: 90
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 58/32
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 8
  • WPT Pro Since: 2016
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 1 (1 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Fernando Belasteguin

The question on everybody’s lips is, “Do you know Agustín Tapia”? 

Because right now, the 21-year-old is the hottest new sensation on the WPT padel circuit playing in the “elite club” with the 10 top-ranked players in the world,  and that, within the short space of a mere two seasons. 

Of
course, Tapia’s meteoric rise didn’t quite happen overnight. 

Growing
up in Argentina, home of some of Padel’s many greats, it was easy for Tapia to
choose padel as his future career at a young age.  Inspired by his role models such as Fernando
(Bela) Belasteguin, Sanyo Gutierrez and Maxi Sánchez to name a few, the
youngster immediately took to the sport and his innate talent soon made an
impression.  

Trained at the Padel Academy, from early on it was clear that Tapia had that something magic about him.  Nicknamed “Pollo” or “Pollito’” (Spanish for “chicken of chick” thanks to his mob of floppy hair), Tapia’s elegance of style – aggressive yet calm and collected at the same time, quickly turned him into a crowd favorite.

By 2017 he was Argentinian Junior Champion as well as the Pan American Champion, humbly signing autographs for his growing fan base back home.

To
advance his career, Tapia moved to Spain beginning of 2018, the same year he
debuted on the WPT circuit, age 18. The 2019
season was the highlight of his short WPT career.  An incredible year, with him learning from the
Masters, who he had the opportunity to practice and play with and in the
process, continued to improve and grow as a player.

Tapia has now only one goal left: to become world number one.  He knows what takes and is all in. He trains
on average 4 hours a day Monday to Friday, combining track and court training
with some gym workouts.

Partner 2020: Tapia is once more teamed up with veteran Bela Belasteguin, his 2019 playing partner, whose style of play, competitiveness and mental capacity he admires.  We’re excited to watch the Apprentice alongside the Master –both hungry for the title – taking on the best of the best to fight it out on-court for the number one spot as the best in the world. Can they succeed?

10. Matias Diaz Sangiorgio

Mati Diaz
  • Nationality: Spain
  • Born: 27 September 1978 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Residence: Madrid, Spain
  • Height: 1,68
  • Preferred Playing Position: Forehand court
  • WPT Matches played: 371
  • Win/Loss Ratio: 271/100
  • WPT Best Win Streak: 13
  • WPT Pro Since: 2013
  • WPT Career Tournament Titles: 8 (1 in 2019)
  • Playing Partner 2019: Franco Stupaczuk

Veteran Matías Díaz Sangiorgio, better known as Mati Díaz, age 41, is currently the oldest player on the WPT circuit, determined to finally claim the elusive number one spot, which he came close to winning in 2015 when he became 2nd ranked couple with teammate Paquito Navarro.

Truth is, Mati Diaz has actually never been outside of the top 10 since
he turned professional in 2008, making him one of the most celebrated
players.  The secret to his success is
simple: he fights for every point and never gives up, hence his nickname “The
Warrior”.

Mati started his career at age 9 in Argentina but soon decided to move to Spain to enroll in the Padel Academy in Madrid.  He has been the Spanish champion several times and regularly represents Spain in international competitions. He won his first tournament in 2016 paired with Maxi Sanchez, his current partner.

By the end of 2018 Mati was once again in the top four teams in the world, which means he now been at the top for almost twenty years.

Partner 2020: Mati Diaz “The Warrior” is back, teamed once again with partner Maxi Sánchez, “The Shark” who he has faced many times before as a partner as well as his opponent. 

With many teams now following the new strategy of combining experience and youth, their pairing may look like a setback, but it’s not. They see it as a new beginning that brings a new experience for them. Is 2020 the year that “The Warrior” can finally clinch the number one spot and claim the title?

Over To You

Who is your favorite player? Who is your favorite pairing? Who do you think will win?

We’d like to hear from you. Leave your comments below in the comments section.

Diarize: The most anticipated moment has arrived for the best players in the world to step onto the court in the battle of the titans.  The opening Tournament on the WPT 2020 calendar starts with the Marbella Master (in Spain) from March 2 to 8.

All World Padel Tour events will be streamed live on the World Padel Tour YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/WorldPadelTour