Lebrón/Galán? Gutiérrez/Tapia? The fight for number one in 2022

Lebrón/Galán? Gutiérrez/Tapia? The fight for number one in 2022

The busiest and most international season in World Padel Tour history has seen an incredible fight break out for the crown in men's padel.

Reigning number ones Juan Lebrón and Alejandro Galán have looked their brilliant best in the current campaign, but are being seriously challenged by Argentinians Sanyo Gutiérrez and Agustín Tapia.

However, besides the favourites, there are also outside challengers.

We break down the fight at the top and all contenders for number one status below!

Can Lebrón and Galán three-peat?

Since forming in 2020, Juan Lebrón and Alejandro Galán have finished both seasons as the number ones of the world.

It was a tough start to 2022, losing in the round of 16 of the Miami Padel Open. It was the second time ever they had been eliminated before the quarter-finals.

Since then, they have made nine from 11 finals, winning four titles. While these are remarkable statistics, they have also lost five finals, more than in 2020 and 2021 combined, where they won 13 from 16.

With 8.740 points in The Race 2022, they lead the way. It remains clear that Lebrón and Galán are without a doubt the pair to beat in men's padel.

South Americans looming

Two men who could do that are Argentinians Sanyo Gutiérrez and Agustín Tapia, who are just 840 points behind in the standings. Gutiérrez was already number one in 2018 with Maxi Sánchez, but has never reached the same heights.

Alongside arguably the best young player in men's padel in Tapia, who turned 23 in July, Gutiérrez has been reborn.

They are the only male or female pair to have been in every semi-final in 2022. Additionally, they boast a 100% record in finals this season, winning all five, including the last two in Valencia and Málaga.

Gutiérrez and Tapia have made all semi-finals and have more titles than any other couple in the men's Circuit in 2022.

With seven Opens, three Masters and the Master Final still to go, this consistency could prove key.

Late title charge?

As there are still over 13.000 points up for grabs in 2022, someone other than Lebrón/Galán or Gutiérrez/Tapia could still go all the way.

Last season's two-seed Paquito Navarro and Martín Di Nenno have not found much joy so far in 2022. The Spanish-Argentinian tandem won the title in Vigo and made the final the week after in Alicante, but has not reached a final since April.

This is why they are only fifth in The Race 2022. Thinking back to last season, however, it was after the summer break when Navarro and Di Nenno came to life, reaching eight consecutive finals and winning three titles.

As they are almost 5.000 points behind Lebrón and Galán, they will need a similar streak to climb the table again.

Currently in third in the race are Franco Stupaczuk and Pablo Lima, who formed as a couple four tournaments into the season.

With three finals and a title to their name, they can beat anybody on their day but have lacked the consistency needed to challenge at the top.

The same can be said for Arturo Coello and Fernando Belasteguín, who started 2022 in the best way possible by winning the Miami Padel Open but have made one final since.

For all three couples, it would take an extraordinary uptick in form to even challenge for number one status.

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