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The heat and its effect on padel

The game of padel is strongly influenced by the heat, especially in summer.

A few weeks ago, the curtain closed on the World Padel Tour Valladolid Master 2021. The laurels went to Maximiliano Sánchez & Luciano Capra in the men’s category, while Alejandra Salazar & Gemma Triay won the women’s category.

But beyond the exciting match-ups in both tournaments, the aggressive style of the participants stood out above all else. There were a lot of smashes, few lobs and very agile defence-attack transitions.

Why were the players forced to play this way?

It comes down to the high temperatures in Valladolid and other parts of Spain throughout the month of June.

The effect of heat on padel

Heat determines several factors that shape the style of play. Especially regarding rackets and balls.

Heat causes an increase in pressure. It also makes the balls feel much lighter.

This gives them more bounce—the court will also make it faster—and greater output.

That’s why, in hot conditions, players hit strong shots in the hope of returning the ball back to their side of the court or knocking it out of the court entirely.

This was evident, for example, in the game between Alejandro Galán & Juan Lebrón, who just about made it to the final to play each other again.

The game between the Spaniards highlighted very well the effect of heat on a padel match. Both sought to position themselves close to the net as soon as possible, given that few lobs were being attempted at the tournament.

Lobs kept to a bare minimum

Not that lobs were prohibited, but, if they were done, they had to be very deep and precise. And this obviously made the players less likely to try them, because the return shot could be fatal. The ball was moving with great speed, so nobody wanted to make it any easier on their opponent.

The difficulty of executing good lobs forced the players to find another way to transition between defence and attack.

A transition that was sought in the most agile way possible, since it becomes very hard to defend this type of ball in the heat.

Winning the position at the net was the first battle fought in every game.

And one of the ways that the players found to move fluidly was the “chiquita”.

This shot aimed at the opponent’s feet wins you enough time to take up position at the net. As the defender will be forced to stumble to get to the ball, when they do return the shot, the opponent will be waiting at the net.

If you’ve been wondering why there were so many fast points with so little elaboration in Valladolid, the answer is in the heat.

It is not due to a change in strategy—which could also be the case—but rather to the players adjusting for the weather conditions during the tournament.

And it must be emphasised that the World Padel Tour Master Valladolid 2021 was held on an outdoor court.

This makes inclement weather more difficult to avoid than when it’s played on an indoor court. There the space can be climatised and adapted so that it doesn’t affect the game so much.

And what about humidity?

Surely one must wonder: why didn’t we see such an offensive style during the Cervezas Victoria Marbella Master 2021 held just a few days before the one in Valladolid?

It’s true that it was very hot in the Malaga city, but there was also a high level of humidity.

And humidity also affects the way the game is played.

It has the opposite effect of the heat. As with the cold, the humidity causes the balls’ pressure to decrease and their weight to increase, so they become slower.

In this way, the heat, which could have affected the tournament, did not have such a noticeable effect on gameplay. It could be said that the humidity neutralised the effect of the heat on the ball and the court.

It is worth noting that humidity also affects the racket and the glass around the court in a curious way.

Typically, both the racket and the glass get wet, which makes the shots and the bounce much more unpredictable.

And this leads, oddly, to a more defensive style than what we saw in Valladolid.

Although it must be said that in Marbella the heat and smashes prevailed. Much less so than in Valladolid, that’s true, but it was also a tournament for power players.

Padel is a sport where tactics play a fundamental role.

And it’s to be expected that such specific weather conditions will influence both the strategy and the players’ gameplay.

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