Former promising tennis player Julia Pietzko is leading a fresh revolution in German padel as the nation eyes a much improved performance at the 2017 European Padel Championships.
Pietzko, who once was seen as a potential top ten player in the world of tennis, has set aside her first love and started seriously pursuing padel as a full-time occupation. Her involvement in padel has witnessed a sudden boom in padel with more than 40 players vying for top honours in any major padel competition in Germany.
“I have absolutely fallen in love with padel,” Pietzko admitted in a recent interview with a German magazine.
“Padel gives me the option of playing two sports at one time, tennis and squash. While 90 per cent of padel is tennis, the remaining ten per cent is squash. And I quite enjoy this happy mix between the two,” she added.
A long-time player at the Padel Point NRW in the Herner Revierpark Gysenberg, the club established by Mike Rose in 2013, has witnessed an increase in the number of players over such a short period of time. And with her pedigree of competitive tennis, Pietzko has been at the forefront leading a generation of players who are ambitious in putting Germany firmly on the international scene.
In June last year, Germany made their debut at the World Padel Cup qualifying that was held at The Hague. Germany lost in their opener to France and then to the hosts Netherlands. In their final encounter, Germany defeated the United Kingdom 3-0, but that was unable to see them through to the next stages of the qualification.
“Winning against the UK was a good start for us,” Pietzko recalled.
“We became aware of how the sport is played at the international level. It was a baptism of sorts for us as a team representing Germany. Now we look more confident and we want to use these sorts of experiences to ensure we are among the top padel nations in the world,” she added.
The partial success has brought in notice from sponsors with ‘Yoorna Sports’ stepping in to supply clothing and racquets for the team. “We can get more support, but I suppose we will first need to prove that we are among the top teams in Europe. And this is why the European Padel Championships will be a major stepping stone for Germany,” Pietzko said.
“Till then, we will just continue practicing and improving in our performances,” she added.
The first trial for Pietzko and her colleagues will be the Walls Padel Championship to be held in Cologne at the end of January. “We have been training vigorously since the past couple of weeks after the Christmas break and we hope we can prove to ourselves that we are capable of taking that step forward,” Pietzko related.