Juan Martin Diaz, in Milan as former legend for the first time: “Padel is changing and has a great future ahead of it”

It is strange to see Juan Martin Diaz in plain clothes and without the bag with the ‘pala’. A few days ago, one of the legends of the sport ended his career: he is leaving padel after dominating it for 14 years at the top of the world rankings but, above all, after leading it – along with other pioneers – into a new dimension. Diaz looks up at the Allianz Cloud in Milan, where Milano Premier Padel P1 is underway, and is almost ecstatic. “This is the first time I have come to a tournament as a former player – he says –. The venue is great: it’s a pity I couldn’t play there, but the choice had already been made”. Juan Martin made it with a smile, but it takes time to get used to it: “After 30 years it is normal that I feel strange and that I have to get used to the thought of not training. But this is life, and I thank it for everything it has given me”.

Diaz leaves behind a padel that is living an impressive rise: “The future of the sport is incredible in terms of location, organisation and quality. We have seen all the good that padel can give, hopefully it can become even more international. The future is what Premier Padel is already doing, with worldwide television coverage: in a short time we will have tournaments all over the planet with all this quality”. Tournaments that, like the P1 in Milano, have seen the debut of the women’s draw: “Women are an integral part of the clubs and the padel system, they are putting on a great show – continues Diaz –. The women’s sector has always been an important sector, but now it will be even more so in the sport, in our sport”.

A padel that, compared to Diaz’s era, has evolved: “Yes, I have to say that padel has changed a lot: even if you throw a perfect ‘globo’, there are players who still attack. You have to be smarter and, for this, I still consider the head more, before moving on to the technical and physical aspect. Padel is still a very motivational and feeling sport”. Diaz will no longer play competitively, but will not leave padel: “With the Reserve Padel group we are trying to expand padel in the United States. It takes time, I’ve been going back and forth for four months. But we hope to be part of Premier Padel and bring international tournaments to America”.