The Youngest Padel Player Who became World No. 1 Title – He’s None Other Than Fernando Belasteguín a.k.a. Bela
Imagine being 22 years old and winning the Padel World Championship. That’s exactly what Fernando Belasteguín did when he was 22. He, along with his partner Juan Martín Díaz Martínez, won the 2002 Padel World Championship.
And that’s not all.
Fernando went undefeated for one year and nine months straight – between September 2005 and May 2007. Throughout this period, he won 22 consecutive tournaments.
In fact, he is the only person to hold the #1 spot in the world ranking for 16 years straight. Throughout his career, he broke numerous records and is known for his stellar accomplishments.
And let me tell you – we’ve just touched the surface of his story.
Fernando has accomplished a lot throughout his career – from winning silver medals in the Olympics to Padel world championships and more, the list goes on and on.
He’s an inspiration for millions of Padel players across the globe, including our team at PADEL1969.
That’s the reason we’ve rolled out this blog post – not only do we want to honor him but also want existing and future Padel players to dive deep into Belasteguín’s journey and get inspired.
We’re so excited to share his journey with you.
Let’s dive in.
The Journey of Fernando Belasteguín – A Living Legend
|Birth||May 19th, 1979|
|Native Place||Pehuajó, Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Years Active||1995 – Present|
|Couple||Juan Martín Díaz Martínez (2001 – 2014)|
Pablo Lima (2015 – 2019)
Guillermo Lahoz Rodríguez – Temporary Due to Injury to Pablo Lima (2015)
Agustín Tapia (August 2019-2021)
Carlos Daniel Gutiérrez (2021)
Arturo Coello Manso (2021- Present)
If you’re reading this blog post, chances are that you already know a bit about Fernando Belasteguín and want to know more.
However, if you aren’t familiar with Fernando Belasteguín – let me tell you that he’s a professional Argentine Padel player with several records under his belt. He’s loved by millions of Padel enthusiasts who love calling him “Bela.”
He’s one of the best Padel players in the world – and the reason why he is where he is today is because of his hard work and dedication – something to be inspired by.
But did you know that before switching to Padel, Bela was a soccer lover?
Fernando’s Entry into Padel
Fernando was born in the city of Pehuajó, Argentina on 19th May 1979. If you haven’t heard of Pehuajó, it’s a small city located in the Pehuajó district in Buenos Aires.
Before switching to Padel, Fernando used to play soccer at Club Atlético Gral. San Martín, a club located Pehuajó where he spent most of his time. At first, he loved football – but soon he started playing Padel along with football.
At the back of his mind, Fernando always knew that he wouldn’t go much far if he continued playing football, as he was a better defender than an attacker. And at that time, most football clubs based in Buenos Aires were looking for players that could score.
Luckily, he met Roberto Díaz, the father of professional Padel players Gonzalo Díaz & Juan Martín Díaz Martínez. Roberto noticed how talented Fernando was and took him under his wing. And that’s how Fernando’s journey started.
1995 – The Year When the World Saw One of the Greatest Padel Players Make His Debut
The year 1995 will always be marked in the history books as the year when one of the greatest and most talented Padel players made his debut. After years of training with Robert, Fernando finally made his debut.
You’ll be shocked to know that within seven years of his debut, he won the Padel World Championship in 2002 – but more on that later.
Between 1995 and 1998, he was gaining traction; however, he announced his retirement from Padel in 1998 – due to reasons unknown.
But his retirement didn’t last long.
In 1999, Roberto Gattiker, a professional Spanish-Argentine Padel player, invited Fernando to play a tournament. He couldn’t resist and that’s when he made his return to Padel.
In 2000, along with Guillermo Demianiuk, Fernando reached the end of the Madrid International tournament. Also, he won the #1 spot in the Argentine ranking – a stellar accomplishment.
But little did the world know – Fernando was just getting started
Winning the Padel World Championship & Several Other Accomplishments
Bela partnered with Juan Martín Díaz Martínez in the 2002 Padel World Championship tournament, in which they scored 6-7, 7-5, and 6-4 to win the Padel World Championship. The pair, again, won the championship in the 2004 Padel World Championship tournament with a score of 4-6, 6-4, and 6-1.
Alongside this, he ascended to the top of the Spanish Padel ranking – and held the #1 position for 16 years straight. Bela and Juan were partners till 2014. Between May 2005 and September 2007, both didn’t lose a single tournament, of the 22 they played – meaning they were undefeated for one year nine months straight.
Bela and Juan were regarded as the “Kings of Padel.” The couple won several trophies and championships – both as a pair and individually.
However, the pair ended their partnership in 2015 – which shook the entire Padel community to its core.
Partnering with Pablo Lima
In 2015, Bela announced his new partner “Pablo Lima” – a professional Brazilian Padel player. Following his announcement, the world started speculating whether things were fine between Bela and Juan or not. Some believed they ended things on bad terms.
Bela, in his book, mentioned that the reason why he decided to pair with Pablo was that he wanted a partner that could cover more ground. For him, playing with Juan was sometimes tiresome. He didn’t want to increase the risk of injury to both – which is why he decided to move on.
The relationship between Bela and Juan is fine. They didn’t want things to end badly so they parted before it was too late.
Bela partnered with Pablo between 2015 and 2019. Throughout their time as partners, they won many matches. However, they didn’t win the World Padel Championship tournament. Fernando held his #1 World Padel Tour ranking spot for sixteen straight years.
They were aggressive and fast. Together, they won multiple tournaments. During this time, in 2015, when Lima was out of the circuit (temporarily), Bela partnered with Guillermo Lahoz Rodríguez.
Following Lima’s injury, Guillermo partnered with Bela – which is when both won 2 tournaments – WPT San Fern
- WPT San Fernando 2015 – Both won the tournament by defeating Matías Díaz Sangiorgio and Francisco Navarro Compán in the finals in two sets – 6-3 and 6-4.
- Palma Open Final – Both won against Matías Díaz Sangiorgio and Francisco Navarro Compán in the finals in two sets again – 6-2 and 7-6.
But Bela’s partnership with Lima ended when Pablo returned. However, in 2017, after losing a few tournaments and injuries, Fernando started doubting his abilities.
And that’s when he lost his #1 World Padel Tour ranking spot to Carlos Daniel Gutíerrez and Maximiliano Sánchez. In 2018, Fernando took time off to recover from an aching elbow injury. He returned for the 2018 Master Final tournament – in which Pablo and Bela defeated Carlos Daniel Gutíerrez and Maximiliano Sanchez by 7-6 and 6-3.
In 2019, things took a turn – as Bela ended his partnership with Lima due to poor performance.
Fernando partnered with Agustín Tapia in August 2019. Both won the Madrid Master 2019 tournament by 6-4 and 6-4. In 2020, both won the Sardegna Open and Estrella Damm Menorca Master Final tournaments. However, the partnership didn’t last long – as they announced their separation.
Bela’s next partner was Carlos Daniel Gutiérrez – with whom he became champion of the Adeslas Madrid Open 2021 tournament – in which the pair defeated Alejandro Ruiz Granados and Franco Stupaczuk. However, in September 2021, both decided to separate – after which Bela partnered with Arturo Coello Manso. Since then, both won Madrid Master 2022 and achieved so much more.
Highlights of Madrid Master 2022 Finals (Bela/Coello and Gonzalez/Ruiz):
The Incredible Journey of Bela!
Found Bela’s journey inspiring? Bela has played 528 matches, as of this writing, of which he won 453 and lost only 75. You may visit World Padel Tour Tournament’s website to dive deeper into Bela’s journey.
Feeling inspired? Want to dive deep into the world of Padel?
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We invite you to try out our inventory. Click here to have a look.
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