They're under 27 and have a lot of padel to offer. They're young but more than ready. Despite being "kids", their rankings suggest the opposite. They're in the top 35 of the rankings and they all share a dream: to reach the top, win and have others look up to them. They're ready to make the leap, get to know the next generation of the World Padel Tour.
Franco Stupaczuk (25/03/1996) The Argentine isn't only the youngest player on this list, he's also the best ranked at 15th. His name is on everyone's list as the future king of padel. A young genius with the competitive spirit required at the top. Stupa is a spectacle on court and pure talent on the backhand side, where his game is fluid, graceful and dominant. After having played with Marcello Jardim in his first full season last year, Franco is heading into a year which should see him cement his place at the top. We will see what he is capable of in 2017 with Cristian Gutiérrez.
Alex Ruíz (12/06/1994) The player from Malaga is on the back of his best season on tour. With Seba Nerone by his side, the Andalusian finished the season 19th. His brilliant campaign was capped off by taking part at the Master Final. Reaching the final rounds at various tournaments and defeating some of the best pairings in the world is just the first step. The lefty uses his power and height to dominate on court. Now he has to go one step further and his eyes are only set on going upwards. This season he will also feature alongside Seba Nerone.
Luciano Capra (16/09/1993) He made a huge impact on tour two years ago. Last year, alongside Godo Diaz, Capra completed a notable campaign. Three semifinals and the La Finca Challenger title left the Argentine in 20th in the rankings and earned him a place in the Master Final. Pure power and defensive commitment define this young player who has set himself ambitious targets in his career. This year he will play alongside Godo Díaz once again and we'll keep a close eye on his progress.
Pablo Lijó (06/07/1991) The Galician, who took his first steps in tennis, has experienced a meteoric rise in the last couple of seaosns. A rise that has seen him trade qualifying draws for the top end of the rankings. Alongside Jordi Muñoz, he ended the year 23rd. Lijo came within touching distance of various semifinals and now he's looking to break that barrier. His style of play is characterised by overwhelming power and bags of talent, and he continues to progress at the same pace as his ranking. He will line up next to Muñoz once again and time will tell whether the player from Santa Uxía de Ribeira can live up to his billing as one of the hottest prospects in padel.
Álvaro Cepero (26/04/1991) Despite his youth, the Andalusian has a lot of experience under his belt on tour. He's a Spanish international and World doubles champion. These are just some of the feats on the CV of this forehand court player coached by Horacio Álvarez Clementi. A hyperactive player that gives his partner full support. After playing with Fernando Poggi, "Chiqui" will join forces with one of the game's top players, Aday Santana. Cepero never shies away from a fight and this year he promises to keep going. Work, consistency and courage are his weapons.
Juan Lebrón (30/01/1995) Another young player from Cadiz that oozes class and talent. He also has a lot of experience and titles with the Spanish national side under his belt. He holds a genius touch, sometimes failing to keep a tab on it, and is aiming to translate his quality into titles. Last year we saw him play on the backhand side next to the experienced Gaby Reca. This year, Juanito Lebron will seek for experience in the shape of Marcello Jardim. Will Lebron finally explode on the scene this year? The answer will come shortly.
Javier Concepción (07/06/1990) The tallest tower on tour, coming in at over two metres, he's not only an imposing figure. The player from Madrid has proved that there's much more to his padel than just his tremendous physical attributes. Powerful, agile and impenetrable in the air, "Concep" finished last season 33rd alongside Garcia Diestro. Together they claimed admirable wins against consolidated pairings. This season, Javier Concepcion will play on the backhand court with an experienced and constrasted player as is Gabriel Reca. The giant is looking to find his place in the rankings.
Matías Marina (27/05/1993) Maty has never gone unnoticed. Last year he finished 30th in the rankings. Marina will no longer play with Gonzalo Rubio as he will join forces with one of the biggest talents on tour: Willy Lahoz. A mix that could launch the young Spanish/Argentine player. Elegant, elastic and decisive. Marina has what it takes to be the real deal. A player looking to go from promise to reality.
Martín Sánchez Piñeiro (26/10/1992) "The Hammer from Ares" has one of the most violent smashes on tour. His target is to be a little bit more competitive this year. Adapting to more surfaces and expanding his array of strokes is the path to improving on his 35th place in the standings. After having played alongside the now retired Jaime Bergareche, Sanchez Piñeiro will lineup alongside another youngster this year, José Antonio García Diestro, who will feature in the forehand court. The Galician, a lover of padel who is always looking to improve, knows how difficult the task in hand is but he is setting himself no limits.
As always, the toughness of the tour and the demands of the competition will dictate the destiny of these youngsters who are looking for a place amongst the best players in the world. They're ready, are you? The future of padel is knocking at the door.