María Pilar Sánchez Alayeto Will Never Give up 

The latest professional athlete is ½ of a twin pair. Mapi is an incredible athlete who has occupied the top charts for her great plays and tight games. Thanks to her chemistry, mutual understanding, and drive with her twin sister, they made one of the most iconic duos of the Padel courts. If you want to know more about Mapi then please read along with us.

Who is María Pilar?

María Pilar Sánchez Alayeto, also known as Mapi, is a Spanish Professional Padel Player. She started her sports career alongside her twin sister in tennis but soon switched to Padel where the pair dominated the WPT charts for a long time. Nowadays, as of December 2023, Mapi is ranked 16th in the WPT official rankings. She has played a total of 437 games, of which she won 329, and only lost 108. This amazing achievement puts Mapi among la crème de la crème of this sport. She has garnered an impressive 4075 points throughout the years she has been playing in the WPT’s professional circuit. She holds one of the best records of consecutively won games: a streak of 30 uninterrupted wins. Her winning percentage amounts to 75.29%

Tennis champions of Spain from double at just 19 years old. in 2003

Spanish champions for 1st Category teams in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

María Pilar’s Padel Chart

Table 1

NameMaría (Mapi) Pilar Sánchez Alayeto  
BirthplaceZaragoza, Spain
BirthdateJune 20th 1984
Height5’8” (173 cm)
SportTennis 2003 Padel tennis 2009-2023
Playing PositionDrive
Active Years2009 -Present
PartnersMajo Sánchez Alayeto (2009- 2023)

María Pilar’s Debut in Professional Sports

Mapi started playing tennis at 6, but at 19 she and her sister decided to ‘retire’ to focus on their studies. They were Spain’s young promise, prodigies, and pioneers but playing at a professional level demanded lots of sacrifice that made the pair saturated and burnt out. A little while after winning the Spanish double championship Mapi and her sister Majo vowed to stay away from racket sports.

During their time as Tennis players, when they were playing at the Real Zaragoza Tennis Club, their coach had embedded in them the work ethics of ants: great workers with a great sense of belonging to a team. Mapi learns then that a cartoon is called “Les Fourmis Atomiques” (atomic ants). That is the exact moment they adopted the Las Gemelas Atomicas (the Atomic Twins) name. This nickname will pursue them throughout their careers.

As they gradually put tennis aside and started settling into their young adult, student lives, their destiny caught up quickly.  In 2009, the pair appeared on Padel Tennis’s women’s circuit. They will never separate again and will electrify Padel courts everywhere.

María Pilar’s Debut in Padel Tennis

In 2008, Mapi’s friends from her old club, in Zaragoza, invited her and her partner to play and try their hand at Padel Tennis. She and her sister-partner, Majo, had a hard time. They left the court with a little bit of disdain for this new sport. They felt like they were locked inside four walls, and blind. They did not like that they could not know where the ball was coming from. As players coming from Tennis where the ball only came from the front, it was hard to feel comfortable within Padel’s four walls.

Little by little they got the hang of it, and quickly developed a passion for Padel Tennis. In 2009, the pair signed up for the World Circuit that was active before the WPT. Without much training, they were making headway and turning everyone’s heads. From there on, at the end of that year, They met with a padel brand: Star Vie and signed a contract with them. After this, they decided to move to Madrid to train and become professional players. They left their jobs in 2010, with nothing in their backpacks but a dream and lots of determination, and they made their move. It was arduous but the brand support had kept them afloat and soon after they started thriving and winning championships and tournaments left and right.

Mapi was Diagnosed with Sclerosis

2018 had ended on a high for Mapi, she was the number one player alongside her sister. The new year was promising, and she could not wait to get back on the courts and defend her title. What was going to be a great season for Mapi, and her sister ended up being a nightmare.

In 2019, during the Alicante Open, Mapi had to withdraw due to health problems in her shoulder.

For a few moments the world quieted, Mapi was out of the competition, out of the season, maybe?

After a few months of tests, doctors, and varying diagnoses. Mapi took to social media and announced to everyone that finally she had the results and knew the definitive diagnosis.

What she has is Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

According to the MS Society website: “Relapsing-remitting MS is a type of MS where you have relapses (symptoms getting worse) followed by recovery (that’s when it’s “remitting”). Your disability doesn’t get worse between relapses but after each relapse, it can end up worse than before.” According to Mapi, it is an unpredictable disease, its outbreaks are not easy, however, Mapi vowed to her sister/ partner, her team, and her fans that there will never be a lack of will, effort, sacrifice, perseverance from her part and that the Atomica energy is what characterizes her.

As an athlete she comes to win, clearly, she will not let anything stand in the way of her will. Of course, such a feat is only easier because of the nature of the partnership she has with her court partner. In Padel tennis, changing partners is a regularity. Being twins with her partner, made it impossible in the best of ways. Neither of them could imagine playing with another couple. And this diagnosis only reinforced their bond.

Tournaments won by María Pilar

Table 2

YearTournamentPartner
2009European champion in pairs. Cascais (Portugal)Spanish team
 European team champion Cascais (Portugal)Spanish team
2010World team champion Cancún (Mexico)Spanish team
2012Spanish Champion: Spain’s 1st Category Team ChampionshipsSpanish team
2013Barcelona International Open 
2014World champion in Palma de Mallorca (Spain).Spanish team
BadajozMajo Sánchez Alayeto
Malaga
Marbella
Valencia
Madrid Masters Finals
2016World champions with the in Cascais (Portugal)Spanish team
Estrella Damm Palma de Mallorca OpenMajo Sánchez Alayeto
Valladolid Open
La Nucía Open
Estrella Damm Master Final
2017Barcelona Master
La Coruña Open
Valladolid Open
Mijas Open
Alicante Open
Seville Open
Andorra Open
Keler Bilbao Open
2018Jaén Open
Valencia Master
Mijas Open
Andorra Open
Lisbon Master
2019Menorca Open

As of December 2023, Mapi was selected to play in the 2023 Master final. We cannot wait to see her performance, let us know what you think!

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