MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The World Padel Tour today announced its first U.S. tournament, the Miami Padel Masters 2017, set for April 26-30 in Miami Beach. Fans of the fast-growing racquet sport of padel will have their first opportunity to see dozens of top-ranked international players compete in a U.S. tournament circuit event.
Padel, a tennis-squash hybrid, has millions of fans in Spain, Argentina and throughout Latin America, and is seeing rapid expansion with padel clubs opening in Europe. Played in the U.S. since the early 1990s, the sport has a foothold in South Florida that will soon expand dramatically. That’s the vision of Miami Padel Masters Founder and Chairman Rodrigo Azpúrua, who is spearheading the event. As the second stop on Madrid-based World Padel Tour’s 2017 global schedule, Miami Beach joins established tournament locations in Monte Carlo, Dubai, Portugal, Argentina and Spain.
“Padel is tremendously exciting for fans, for players at all levels, and for the many communities that are embracing it,” said Azpúrua, who has seen World Padel Tour’s top-ranked players in action in Madrid and Barcelona. “The Miami Padel Masters tournament is a key step in spotlighting the sport in the U.S., toward our goal of attracting a million fans in the next five years.”
As CEO of Riviera Point Development Group, a South Florida pioneer in the use of the federal EB-5 Immigrant Investor program for commercial real estate, Azpúrua often travels to South America and Europe. He’s seen the number of padel players and fans mushroom in the last few years. His teenaged son Enrique, an avid tennis player, made the switch to padel last year. When Rodrigo Azpúrua learned World Padel Tour was seeking a Miami area location, he secured a three-year licensing commitment.
According to Hernán Auguste, International Development Director for World Padel Tour-Madrid, “Miami was a crucial location in our expansion strategy, and we’re delighted to have found a partner who shares our passion for developing players and fans for the sport in the U.S. Players are already telling us that competing next spring in a top-ranked tournament in Miami Beach, a world-class destination, is a dream come true for them.”
Played on a glass-walled court that’s about a third the size of a tennis court, padel is a doubles sport. Thirty two highly ranked men’s doubles teams from around the globe will compete at the Miami Padel Masters tournament. Azpúrua said he looks forward to adding tournament play for women’s international padel teams as the Miami event expands in the coming years.
Since the balls can be played off the walls, similar to the game of squash, dramatic, long volleys make play fast-paced and fun to watch. The sport is athletic but less punishing to the body than tennis, so many former tennis champions enjoy playing the game. The smaller court makes the sport more social – as does the custom of getting together to sip a beer after a game.
The Miami event’s sponsors include brewer Estrella Damm, as well as Head, the sports equipment and sportswear company. For information and updates on Miami Padel Masters 2017 visit www.miamipadelmasters.com.
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From left, Hernán Auguste, International Development Director for World Padel Tour-Madrid and Rodrigo Azpúrua, founder and Chairman of the Miami Padel Masters event.