Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has change into the newest high-profile sportsman to put money into the Game4Padel enterprise that already has Andy Murray as one in every of it’s backers.
Van Dijk’s Liverpool supervisor Jurgen Klopp is a giant fan of padel and has his personal vary of rackets with Wilson and it appears the fervour for the game has now rubbed on one in every of his star gamers.
Liverpool have a padel courtroom at their coaching floor and Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders additionally a giant fan of a sport that was lately described as the largest health development of the summer time by GQ journal and by The Instances because the ‘racket sport that’s quickly changing into a giant hit’ and is hailed to be the world’s quickest rising sport.
A cross between tennis and squash, performed on a courtroom surrounded by a heavy-duty glass that enables gamers to hit the ball after it bounces again off the wall, the sport initially began in Mexico and shortly swept by way of South America after which into Europe.
Padel is now performed in 91 nations and and is the quickest rising sport in lots of nations resembling Sweden and Italy. Forecasters predict padel will change into an Olympic sport by 2032.
Soccer superstars David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Man Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Crystal Palace supervisor Patrick Vieira are amongst those that are huge followers of padel and now Van Dijk has added his identify to that checklist by investing within the modern Game4Padel model led by Michael Graydon.
“I actually take pleasure in padel,” stated Van Dijk. “It’s a improbable strategy to loosen up after a match or coaching and it’s actually sociable too.
“I’ve been actually impressed by the Game4Padel group and their ambitions. I’ve seen how padel has actually grown shortly within the Netherlands, and hopefully my involvement will assist it develop right here within the UK.”
Seven-time Grand Slam doubles winner Jamie Murray has joined his brother Andy by investing in Game4Padel, with tennis coach Jamie Delgado becoming a member of former tennis stars Andrew Fortress and Annabel Croft by placing an funding into the corporate.
“I’m clearly a giant fan of doubles in tennis, and that’s one of many nice issues about padel – that you simply play in pairs, so it’s numerous enjoyable,” stated Jamie. “I encourage anybody to present it a go, whether or not they’ve performed any racket sports activities earlier than or not.”
Michael Gradon, Game4Padel CEO, stated: “Virgil, Jamie and Jamie are all wonderful additions to our rising investor base at Game4Padel.
“We’ve got over 70 traders and are vastly enthusiastic about having extra of the world’s most iconic sports activities stars on board – they’re clearly keen about padel and we imagine will assist us to succeed in new audiences and encourage individuals who may not have heard of padel to attempt it out for themselves.”
In an unique interview with Tennis365, Annabel Croft gave us her views on the way forward for padel, as she advised the game is destined to blow up within the UK.
“There’s loads of momentum behind it now,” stated Croft. “You hear increasingly more folks speaking about it. I hear numerous younger folks speaking about padel and eager to get into it.
“It actually appears like the sport is on an upward curve. It might probably interact with individuals who would possibly discover tennis too tough and that’s the great thing about padel.
“Every time I play padel, I come off with a giant smile on my face. It is extremely comparable abilities to tennis due to all of the volleying and the contact and really feel.
“I haven’t fairly mastered the again wall but, however it’s a very social recreation. There are at all times loads of smiles on courtroom and it’s a nice recreation. I actually take pleasure in it.
“I’m nonetheless attempting to study all of the totally different abilities and I’ve realized that prime spin doesn’t work in padel,” he added. “It’s a lot simpler to select up. Serving is lots much less worrying as you actually simply bounce the ball and slice it into the courtroom.
“You possibly can have nice rallies and even if you’re not a tennis participant, your degree can come up fairly shortly. Clearly the professionals that play will likely be on a special degree, however I actually take pleasure in enjoying.
“Game4Padel is a good initiative as they are going to come and set up a padel courtroom and take a income share. For golf equipment that may’t afford to place a padel courtroom in, this can be a nice strategy to make it occur.”
The LTA are the governing physique of padel within the UK and staged the primary skilled event at their Nationwide Tennis Centre earlier this month, attracting enormous media protection.
Now it appears the padel craze is about to go to the subsequent degree, with Van Dijk changing into the newest sporting celebrity to throw his contemplating affect behind it.