Adventure in Patagonia

Adventure in Patagonia

After a few hours of transatlantic flights, staff and several players arrived to Ezeiza Airport, Buenos Aires. It was 9:30 am local time, and after tasting the first croissants of the trip, I suggested going for a walk along the Rio La Plata to make time until the flight to Rio Gallegos.

The spanish players, Concepción, Botello, Santana y Bergareche were chatting about how they would be received by the argentinian fans and wondering about the atmosphere surrounding this first international stop.

24 hours later, neither the jet lag nor the low temperatures ruined their party when they found out the preperation of the event and the large amount of padel fans waiting for them in the Boxing Club since the first day.

The players sat friendly in the box watching the matches. They were all present in the Lahoz-Gutiérrrez match against the "superpibes" (superguys) because they are the first interested in viewing their first match.

Everything was going great until Juani Mieres hit his head against the doorpost that gives entery to th court attempting to reach an impossible ball sent by Fernando Poggi. We saw him bleeding laid down on the floor and were all struck scared for a moment. However after a few points he came back to the court, and our attitude changed seeing he was fine and finished the match laughing at the peculiar bandage around his head saftened by the medics with duct tape.

The next day was even more amusing including the first quarterfinals. In the first game, Godo hit the glass and it broke into pieces. During the two hours we were waiting for the new glass, I wondered if it had not been a strategy of Godito to destablize his brother Matthias. However it had been very effective wasting the nap of both Gaby and Seba who had arrived early to their match. And poor Ramiro, who ran to sit on the bench to put an end to his dizziness. Paquito Navarro was standing, very aware of the change, I guess wondering if he keep throwing his "blade" after the incident. Everything had been anecdotical and the match ended with a tie break with amazing points filling whole pages in my notebook.

The court conditions were excellent and contributed to an exquisite padel game enjoyed day after day. The argentinians were enjoying it accompanied by their inseperable "mate."

The fans saw them when they were just beginning and now they are reunited and have become stars. Some of them like Nerone, Quiles or Maxi were lucky to count with their biggest fans in the audience, their mothers were there and that gave them more strength to compete for the victory.

Half an hour after the end of the final, once in the hotel, Fernando Belasteguín was offering a toast with orange juice next to his uncle, his cousin and best friend, "Gula". They had travelled thousands of kilometers from Pehuajó and were proud to have won their third consecutive title. Made even more special if possible by achieving it next to a Pablito Lima we've seen happier, more relaxed and motivated than ever since his return.

The end of the trip was like those written in tales. Sanyo Gutierrez slept the five hours busride we faced at 5 am Monday when we got on the bus.... but he opened his eyes wide when we got to the very Perito Moreno where we could barely utter a word from the cold when I took out the World Paddle Tour microphone. Microphone that I cant wait to use again... the next time at the heart of Valladolid. And there I will wait for you, still with the memories of the great argentinian adventure fresh in mind!

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