Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council, (right) and Rajesh Banga, Chairman of World Padel League, during the press conference on Thursday.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
With a field comprising 24 of the world’s top stars, the World Padel League, the greatest show on court, revealed the line-up of players on Thursday.
Taking place from June 8 to 11, 2023, in partnership with the Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Calendar (DET), and Coca-Cola Arena, the world’s first league of its kind will feature four franchise teams, including the Jaguars, Panthers, Tigers, and Cheetahs. Each of the four teams consists of three male and three female players.
This unique event will take place at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai. Combining high-intensity padel matches with top-class entertainment, the World Padel League promises four days of non-stop action and excitement.
The league carries a whopping prize purse of Dhs826,000. The winners will receive Dhs550,000, while the second-place team will get Dhs275,000. This prize money is a reflection of the league's commitment to promoting and rewarding excellence in the sport of padel.
The star-studded line-up was revealed during a press conference held at Dubai Sports Council headquarters on Thursday.
“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 organizer to launch the World Tennis League, which featured an elite gathering of players competing in four teams,” said Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council.
“The tournament achieved significant success in terms of technical proficiency, public attendance, and media coverage. Today, we are excited to announce the launch of a new tournament in the sport of 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. With confidence, we anticipate that this tournament will attain remarkable levels of excellence. It is poised to become a pivotal annual event on Dubai's sporting calendar,” Hareb added.
“We are honored 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 fueled by our passion for the sport, but also by the visionary leadership of the UAE that recognizes the potential of bringing and nurturing unique ideas in spectator sports to Dubai,” said Rajesh Banga, Chairman of World Padel League.
“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,” he addwd.
“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 Jaguars will comprise some of the top-ranked players globally, including Alejandra Salazar Bengoechea and Gemma Triay, both world-ranked number one, leading the team. They will be joined by Carlos Daniel Gutiérrez, ranked fifth globally, and Franco Stupaczuk, ranked eighth. The team will also feature Jeronimo González Luque, ranked thirteenth, and Carolina Navarro Bjork, ranked twenty-ninth, completing the Jaguars' talented line-up.
The Panthers team is 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 globally, and Lucia Sainz, ranked eighth. Aranzazu Osoro, who is ranked ninth globally, and Alejandro Ruiz Granados, ranked 14th, complete the Panthers' team line-up.
The Tigers have an equally robust team line-up, including Marta Ortega, who holds the world ranking of fifth, and Francisco Navarro Compán, who is ranked ninth. The team also boasts the talents of Victoria Iglesias Segador, ranked tenth, and Federico Chingotto, ranked eleventh. Other key players include Juan Tello, ranked twelfth, and Delfina Brea Senesi, ranked eighteenth.
The Cheetahs is a formidable team, made up of some of the world's top padel players. Ariana Sanchez and Paula Josemaría are both ranked third globally, while Fernando Belasteguín is ranked sixth. Maria Virginia Riera is also a strong player, ranked seventh globally, and the team is further bolstered by the skills of Pablo Lima, ranked tenth, and Miguel Yanguas, ranked nineteenth.
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.
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