Top 50 influencers

Part 2: Top 50 most influential persons in the ”new” padel world


In recent years, padel has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity, emerging as the fastest-growing sport globally. With its origins rooted in Spain, padel has transcended borders, captivating enthusiasts across continents and becoming a worldwide phenomenon. 

From the proliferation of new padel clubs and facilities to the increasing participation in professional tournaments, the rise of padel in recent years has been nothing short of extraordinary. 

With the industry starting to take shape, sports marketing professional and padel enthusiast Freddie Hanbury looks at 50 of the leading influencers in the ever-evolving padel industry. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors.

Five articles will be published in the coming week, each focusing on people who have a major influence in the world of padel. 

The Padel Alto editorial team was not involved in the selection process. 

Part 1: Read here.
Part 2: 2nd May 2024
Part 3: 4th May 2024
Part 4: 6th May 2024
Part 5: 8th May 2024 

”New Padel Markets” Top 50 Influencers’ (Part 2)

Michael Gradon 
CEO of Game4Padel, former Wimbledon Committee; former Director of FTSE 100 Company P&O

This former CEO of P&O is a big hitter in the business world. Astute, forward-thinking and affable, this former All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon) Committee member has been setting the pace in Britain’s padel journey, with the clever strategy of onboarding high profile investors to his Game4Padel company, including Andy Murray, Virgil Van Dijk, Annabel Croft and others. His approach has helped open the door for padel to a whole new audience and is at the crux of Game4Padel’s market-leading recognisable status. 

With 19 venues across the UK, Spain and now Australia, expect Gradon and Game4Padel to be continuing to set the pace in the UK for many years yet.

Tia Norton GB 
No.1...first female Brit to be close to breaking into the world top 100

As the current British number one, Tia Norton is in a position of unbelievable power. She was the latest Brit to break into America with her victory at the Las Vegas Smash in her debut PPL season last year. Norton’s prowess, however, goes back to her first ever event where at the age of 17 she became the first British player to feature on the World Padel Tour. A year later she made history alongside her partner Carla Fito in August 2022 by winning her maiden Padel Federation (FIP) title at Britain’s first ever international padel event. Norton has also become a fixture in the media and featured in Sheer Luxe’s Up and Coming Female Sports Stars to look out for, The Times and elsewhere. 

The British No. 1 has also become an advocate for the wider women’s game, and through, Femme Open, is helping to encourage the next generations of female padel stars.

Sandy Farquharson 
Founder of The Padel School

One half of the Farquharson brothers, Sandy, a former tennis player, was coaching tennis during his 10 years in Dubai when he stumbled into padel and was offered the role Head of Racquet Sports at the well-regarded NAS Sports Complex. In the years that followed he embraced the sport, training in Spain, and developed both his knowledge, playing ability and network, so much so that he became the coach of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, of the Royal Family in the UAE. 

Returning to the UK from his expat duties, he accelerated growth of The Padel School alongside his brother, which has swiftly become the world’s No.1 English speaking online padel education platform. Professional, engaging, and excellent at what he does, Farquharson has identified the scale at which the UK padel scene needs to continue to develop and its exciting to see all the continuously impressive work he is doing for the game.

Ben Nichols 
Founder CEO of Padel 22

From starting his career at the ATP, working as Head of Press for the Middle East’s leading tennis Championships in Dubai, joining an F1 team, giving the 2018 Commonwealth Games a resurgence through some impactful marketing and PR, overseeing media for the Russian doping crisis while at the World Anti-Doping Agency, to then become the leading PR professional in global padel, you could say the Briton’s path has been the path less chosen. 

But then this charismatic, affable go-getter has proven himself capable of deep end challenges and coming through enhanced. In Nichols, padel has its voice in what he likes to call ‘the New Padel World’, and having cracked America, helped build padel’s profile in Britain, and starting work in new territories like South Africa, this well-regarded sports communicator has the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the sport will no doubt see him as a mainstay of this new industry.

Filip Björne 
Head of Padel at Everysport Group AB

Without our players, we don’t have a sport which is why people like Bjorne are so crucial to our industry. Giving players the reputation they deserve and bringing them into the public consciousness is one of the many reasons why padel is growing. Bjorne represents the number one player in the Nordics in Daniel Windahl and he is also championing the development of many others. 

In his role with Padel Alto, Bjorne has created the most successful padel media company in Europe and the go-to destination for padel news. The Spain-based Swede’s tireless efforts and constant flow of padel news has helped not only attract but maintain a steady growth of support for the sport in both old and new padel nations. Bjorne is someone with a diverse range of talents, charisma and a wealth of experience. This combination has made him one of the most influential figures in the padel media industry.

Alex Ponseti 
Managing Director of the Padel World Summit

Strictly speaking, the Spaniard is part of the established padel order, not the new world, however given his role spearheading the fast-approaching Padel World Summit (21 - 23 May in Malaga), Ponseti has fast built up international status as the man bringing the padel world under one roof for the first time ever. 

That’s no simple task, but the likeable Spaniard, supported by the Cluster Padel Group, has assembled an impressive cast of speakers for the Malaga showdown, which will blend industry individuals from now just traditional Spanish- speaking padel countries, but new nations, too. Bringing Argentina together with Sweden, China, the US, UK, and others is no mean feat, yet Ponseti is proving the great connector. And the proof will be in the Malaga pudding. The industry awaits, with interest.

Robyn Duda 
Co-Founder of RacquetX

When you take celebrities, innovative content, and high- quality media it creates an unprecedented volume of opportunities to harness growth for your brand. 

Thinking differently and creating bold change are just two of the many characteristics which are second nature to Robyn Duda. Her founding of RacquetX, a sports trade festival celebrating the success of racket sports in the United States, was the latest example of clinical success. Duda has over 20 years of leadership in marketing and a track record of transforming industries via technology and cutting-edge event concepts with clinically designed strategies. Alongside Marco Giberti, Robyn Duda put on an event which embraced padel alongside pickleball as the new ‘it sport’ to hit America. With dates already announced for March next year, RacquetX confirmed itself as one of the most exciting events of the year and will be bookmarked in any padel fans diary for 2025!

Max Evans 
Former Scotland International Rugby Player, Founder of Cork Padel and Founder of PadelXO.

Brits abroad, hey?! Scottish rugby sensation and Algarve resident, Max Evans’ dynamic personality continues to make waves in the padel sphere. He is the brother of Tom Evans (who’s married to Nicole Sherzinger) and he has a distinct padel racket brand, Cork (made of Portuguese cork) which allows each racket to be personalised to the users wishes. The success is clear to see as the brand has taken them to the rich and famous worldwide including Evans taking one to Prince Albert of Monaco; and also creating a King Charles Coronation racket. 

With friends in high places, Evans is often seen on court with former Chelsea defender John Terry, and he is able to use his network to not only grow his own brand but strengthen the awareness of the amazing sport through his fun-loving nature. He believes the simplicity and enjoyment of padel are what sets the sport apart from others and is a firm believer that once you’ve picked up a padel racket, you won’t look back.

Callum Beale 
Head of Game Expansion at Tennis Australia (Padel Australia).

When Australia does sport, it does sport well. So, there can be little doubt that Australia is on track to be a success story in padel, too, as the sport booms in Melbourne, Sydney and beyond. Beale has the important task of making sure this happens. Padel Australia have just enjoyed their biggest summer to date hosting the Australian Padel Open and the Melbourne Padel Open in January. Both events feature the best players which Australia has to offer and provides them with an opportunity to play the best players in the world on an international stage for the very first time. 

Offering this opportunity marks a major improvement for Australian Padel and pushes them onto the world stage. Now competing against other leading federations is the first step of growth. Yes, they are still far behind the traditional padel heavyweight nations, but with Beale directing the orchestra, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Australia start to raise its head above the padel parapet sooner rather than later.


Nikhil Mohindra
GB Padel Player, Partner of R3 Sport, Padel India ambassador

Affable, ambitious, smart and all-round great guy Nik Mohindra is an illustration of what padel needs. His recent announcement as the first Padel India ambassador represents all of these qualities. 

Being proud of his Indian heritage, Mohindra has agreed to take part in clinics across India to help grow the game and coach both amateur and first-time players to create awareness for the sport which he has made a career out of. Off the court, his new partnership with Jonathan Rowland’s R3 Sport demonstrates his business knowledge, foresight and understanding of the big picture. Mohindra is predicted to be one of the leading names in British - and Indian - padel in the near future.

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