The Joy of Padel podcast with Nico Agritelley

Nico Agritelley is a homegrown talent from Dallas, Texas, who has taken the American padel scene by storm. A former college tennis player turned padel enthusiast, Nico shares his candid story of trading in his finance career for the love of padel, a decision that has propelled him to the top ranks in the US. Dive into his transformative journey from tennis courts to padel courts, the challenges of finding the right competition stateside, and his ambitious leap into professional padel. Nico opens up about the intricacies of transitioning from tennis to padel, the importance of chemistry with a partner both on and off the court, and the strategies that have shaped his aggressive playstyle. He also reflects on the invaluable lessons learned from defeats and the joy of continual improvement in a sport that has taken him around the globe. As padel gains momentum in the US, Nico discusses the evolution of the Professional Padel League (PPL), his experiences with top international players, and the future of the sport in America. His message is simple: Try padel. You’re bound to fall in love with it.

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About the host: Minter Dial

Minter Dial is an international professional speaker, author & consultant on Leadership, Branding and Transformation. His involvement in sports has been a lifetime passion. Besides playing 18 years of rugby, captaining athletics teams, coaching tennis and playing squash for his university, he’s been a lifelong player of padel tennis, starting at the age of 10, from the time of its very first public courts at the Marbella Club in 1974.

Then, after a successful international career at L’Oréal, Minter Dial returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has spent the last twelve years helping senior management teams and Boards to adapt to the new exigencies of the digitally enhanced marketplace. He has worked with world-class organisations to help activate their brand strategies, and figure out how best to integrate new technologies, digital tools, devices and platforms. Above all, Minter works to catalyse a change in mindset and dial up transformation. Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993). He’s author of four award-winning books, including Heartificial Empathy 2nd edition (2023), You Lead (Kogan Page 2021), co-author of Futureproof (Pearson 2017); and author of The Last Ring Home (Myndset Press 2016), a book and documentary film, both of which have won awards and critical acclaim.

It’s easy to inquire about booking Minter Dial here.

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Full transcript of interview via Otter.ai

SUMMARY KEYWORDS: padel, tennis, luis estrada, court, play, playing, year, pro, sport, partner, matches, tournaments, level, started, compete, team, transition, improve, point, tennis players

SPEAKERS: Nico Agritelley, Minter Dial

Minter Dial  00:02

Nico Agritelley. It’s great to have you on the show, you know federal Americans, us who have this deep passion for an panel. Tell us in your own words Nico, who are you?

Nico Agritelley  00:16

My name is Nico Agritelley. I’m born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I’ve lived here my entire life. I went to college played college tennis, like college tennis in Texas. So, I’ve never lived anywhere outside of Texas played tennis since I was three years old, graduated college and in the year I graduated college was so burnt out from tennis decided to start charging playing padel. We year I graduated as the year we built three courts at my tennis club. So, for me, it was perfect. Because I was able to transition to a racquet sport that was very similar to tennis, I was able to learn a new skill, I was able to get better at something and I was able to compete. So, for me, it was just first time I applied instantly fell in love. And then I decided to quit my day job in May of 2022. To do peddle full time, right out of college, I worked in finance for five years. And it got to a point where padel was starting to overtake my job. So, I was having to take unpaid time off. Really like plan out my year because I only had 10 days of paid time off per year. So, then, in we went to Qatar in the end of 21 for the World Championships, had to take four days of unpaid time off, which for me was great. I went there, got to represent my country got to play against some of the top guys in the world. absolute blast, and then I came back and then the next year my boss said, hey, no more unpaid time off. And I was like, okay, so then I decided to take kind of a leap of faith and quit my day job to do padel full time. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.

Minter Dial  01:57

Love it ! It must have been quite a challenging decision. I mean, it’s all the same. You got the security of a salary, you know, place you know, you’ve been there for five years. And this new thing padel tennis in Yeah, I suppose. Pretty much everybody including your parents, like what would you know, what are you doing?

Nico Agritelley  02:14

Yeah, it was it was a I was playing tournaments at that time. And I wasn’t doing it like full time. But it definitely was scary in some sense. Not knowing like, how I’m going to train where I’m going to go what tournaments am I going to be able even like survive? So, I do teach to help supplement some income. But both my partner Luis and I are getting to a point now where sponsorships and prize money are actually starting to help keep us afloat. I still do teach whenever I’m in town when I’m not in town very often now. I think last year, we traveled like 32 weekends out of the whole year. It was it was crazy, but it was a blast. We had a ton of ton of fun and this year is going to be similar. It’s going to be just back to back to back to back. We were in Miami for two weeks for the Pro Padel League. I looked at my schedule yesterday or two days ago. I think my next free weekend is June 22. So, it’s about to go into crazy season. Wow.

Minter Dial  03:11

Well, you know for us over in Europe, I spent so much of my life in Spain so I have had long history with it. And let’s say it’s more common to be able to talk to somebody at dinner table and say oh I play padel Oh, I’ve heard about that. Now it’s sort of becoming trendy in the states it seems that still pickle and platform tennis and tennis and mean this other thing pad dal which has to be spelled pronounced differently? What how does one organize the professional side of it? In other words, with a sponsorship, the majors or the tournaments? Do you is there enough within the US in terms of tournaments? Or do you have to pretty much consider going out and doing Mexico and Europe and so on.

Nico Agritelley  03:58

Tournament wise, there’s enough, there’s enough stuff for me to stay busy compete two or three or four weekends per month. The roadblock that Luis and I run into is that we’ve been number one in the US maybe for six months, maybe over six months. But there’s really only one other couple one other team here in the US that’s giving us kind of a true challenge. So, that’s good. That means that we’re improving, but now because we’re kind of hitting that upper tier, it’s tough for us to get the competition that we need to to improve. So, we spent a month in Spain in January training. We train with Savannah Roni, in the morning, we go to the gym, and then he would help set up set us up a match in the afternoon. And for us that was invaluable. It was amazing. We got to play with guys top 50 in the world, top 70 world so that’s what we need in order to get better. The downside is we just don’t have that level here in the US. So, It’s kind of a catch 22 and are our sponsors want us to grow padel here in the US? I totally understand. Everybody says it’s a huge market, which it is, it’s going to blow up, it’s already on that uptick of starting to really get there. So, for us, they want us here in the US competing, growing the brand here, totally understand again. But for us to grow as pedal players, we need to find places outside of the US to play, maybe we go to Mexico going to Spain was amazing. But if we’re in those other countries, then we’re not growing padel in the US. So, it’s kind of that that balancing act, that balancing act that catch 22 of how do we, how do we improve? But then also, how do we kind of make our sponsors happy and grow padel on us. So, that’s kind of what we’re dealing with right now. But tournament wise prize money wise, it’s where the US is starting to really, really catch up, we have a circuit called Red padel, which is very similar to UTR. If you’re familiar with tennis, it’s a rating system. And they have a circuit they created two years ago, pretty decent prize money 5000 10,020 $5,000 prize money tournaments, so we try to play as many of those as possible, their rating necessarily doesn’t really matter. Ranking wise, at least for the US. Yeah, exactly. So, the other circuit we play is called you as PA, United States padel Association. That’s where we’re ranked number one in the US. And that’s what qualifies us for, like the World Championships and stuff like that to get selected for the team. So, we’ve played both, we played the USPA. And we played the red padel tournaments. And USPA started to have more and more prize money at some of the higher-level tournaments.

Minter Dial  06:46

Loving that! I want to talk to you about your transition from tennis to padel because that’s the majority of people come to padel from Lawn Tennis. And it was a fascinating conversation with Luis and I was wondering how you transition? Oh, let’s put it this way. Most tennis players try to hit avoid the wall. And they’re usually very good at the net. But what about you what how is your transition from tennis? Because you’re a taught you’re taller than Luis as I understand it. Yep. And so, I imagine you have a sort of a more of a net presence and more of a surf and all that overhead. But um, yeah, talk us through how you transition to what is the key to beginning to be a real padel player?

Nico Agritelley  07:31

I kind of have a funny story with transitioning from playing tennis to padel. So, for the first two years of me playing padel, I wasn’t actually playing padel, I was playing tennis on the padel court. I’ve never taken a padel lesson in my entire life. So, again, for the first two years, we would just go out there, like some of the teaching pros at t bar or some buddies and I would go out there and we play. And we have a blast, we have so much fun. We play for two, two and a half, three hours. But again, it’s minimal walls, we’re not really using the walls, we’re not really hitting a proper button they have everything that’s going above the head as an aerial shot, we’re going for a big smash. It wasn’t until two years in, we did a club versus club event. So, we did a T bar versus a club in Houston called old club called the grand. So, we went down there and we played against them and me and whoever I played with, we lost it to 15-year olds. And for me, that was just like, a blow to the chest was like what the heck because this would never happen in tennis. I don’t care how good those 15-year olds are, like me is a 23 year old is not losing the 15 year olds. But they saw that we’re tennis players and they saw we had no walls, we had no idea how to play the sport. So, they would just stay back and hit lobs and hit loves and hit loves a wait until we hit one that we didn’t clear they come up and they end the point and fall. So, it wasn’t until after that, that I was like holy cow. Okay, if I’m like want to start playing the sport, I got to learn how to play properly. So, from there, then I would just grab teaching pros and my brother and we go out there and we practice letting it go off the wall. But again, I’ve never taken a lesson so I didn’t have anybody to feed me balls and tell me do this, do that you’re doing this, so on so forth. So, everything that I’ve learned is self-taught, which is kind of cool. But on the flip side had I had a teaching pro from day one. I feel like where I am now maybe I could be two or three times higher because I would have been that much more experienced like actually playing padel. So, my advice to people looking to get into the sport that want to learn how to play is like look even if the lessons a little expensive. Take two or three or four lessons. Learn how to use the walls learn how to hit up on de hop, learn how to actually play padel because your skill sets from tennis will transfer over very well to padel but there are subtle differences between tennis and padel so If you can learn those early on, get the proper technique, it’s going to make the transition and the learning curve even that much easier.

Minter Dial  10:06

Totally, I mean, the 15-year-olds showed the way. And you know, it’s amazing that, you know, even for me, I can be up against a 35-year-old ATP tennis player and still muck around with them, double their age, and you put the chiquitas in, keep on lobbing them nicely. You know where to put it up on the high backhand, you’re sort of strategically aware, whereas their positioning in the court isn’t quite there. What about your side of play now, even now playing for seven years? How would you characterize your play? But what sort of animal are you going to court?

Nico Agritelley  10:48

The last year when I was in the Arkansas Matrix, one of the guys in the team, Charlie Moon, gave me the nickname American Eagle. So, when I first started off playing, I actually started playing on the left side. But I played on the left side for three or four or five years, then, right before we went to Qatar, and 2021, we were assembling the team and I asked the coach, I look, I’ll play whatever side you want, right side, left side, both sides, you told me, they said, We’re going to put you on the right side for the tournament. Excuse me. So, I started training on the right side right before that. So, that was Qatar for 21. And then start a beginning of 22 is when Luis and I started playing. And Luis had no idea how to play on the right side. So, he plopped himself on the left side. So, ever since then, I’ve been playing on the right side. But I can play both. And I like to characterize myself is like it’s, I don’t like to assimilate myself with this person. But: Juan Lebron, I love his style of play. I’m not a big fan of his attitude, and the way he acts on the court. But he’s a right-side player. He’s a very aggressive right-side player. And that’s kind of how I see myself as well as, because I have that left side experience. I can be very aggressive. But I play on the right side.

Minter Dial  12:03

You never Of course, with your age, you have that Twitch nerve going on. You have the size and allows you to pop and get that sort of quick reaction snap, when you’re hitting, and how do you describe the difference between left and right then? I mean, it seems like at some level, the modern game is that you know, when you’re going to demand no and even more theta in the women’s they the strength of the right player is no longer just you know, pushing it back and controlling.

Nico Agritelley  12:33

Agreed 100% that this new era of padel is way more aggressive. You look at Toppy, uncoil, you look at what was LeBron and Golan. I mean now they’re hitting a lob and charging forward, hitting a Chiquita and charging forward. So, it is no more of this kind of stay back stay patient work the points. I mean, they don’t get me wrong, they still do that every once in a while, but it’s way more aggressive. So, thankfully, slash on thankfully, my tennis background kind of plays a big advantage into that I’m comfortable, kind of rushing forward, I can stay back and work the point in play defense use the wall, the wall is now my friend. But when I first started out, it wasn’t. But I think having that tennis advantage allows me to be able to push forward easier and faster, and kind of adapt to this new modern game style versus kind of the old game style of just staying back and waiting and loving and lobbying and waiting your turn until you can come in. And then you kind of walk forward and then we’re at the net, you’re at the baseline and playing a little bit slower.

Minter Dial  13:46

Well, it’s for sure that that’s the pro game, I think it’s important to highlight for those of us who are not pros, there’s still a thing called the slow game and using the wall and popping up labs, the pro game at the men’s level is not something that’s reproducible for the for the mere mortals that are just, you know, like old folks like myself anyway. But in terms of when you play left or right. You know, sometimes I have to play with a player and he says, Can you when we serve, we have to play the tennis formation as opposed to the I formation or the padel formation. And so, you have to switch. And so, I’m always battling through the tactical shots you need to make differently, how do you describe the difference between playing left and playing? Right? Since you’re able to play both!

Nico Agritelley  14:34

Playing left, I think the biggest difference versus playing right to me is just having the mindset that you’re going to be taking more shots on the left you’re going to be moving a little bit more because if that lob comes up the middle, that left side player they have their over their forehand in the middle. So, there you go right-handed. Correct, correct. Assuming you have two righties, then that that person is responsible for coming over we’re uncovering the middle. For, for the higher level for the pro level, I think people understand the roles fairly well. Even at kind of the lower level, though, I do see a lot of my students struggle, because maybe somebody is used to playing on the left, but they switch. So, then when they play that tennis style, like you’re talking about, they’ll go on the right side, because their partner serving, and that ball goes up in the middle, and they’re used to taking that middle ball. But now, now they’re coming over and hitting a backhand. So, it can be tricky. But I also understand that as you get older, it’s harder to move. So, maybe playing the eye formation, padel style is tougher, and you can’t cover as much cord. I think as the teaching pro, whoever the Teaching Pro is you just got to make your students aware of, of who’s responsible for covering that middle, when it gets lobbed. And if you’re switching, you got to be a little bit more hyper focused on what your role is based upon what side you’re on.

Minter Dial  16:01

Totally! Love it. Thank you for that Nico. I like it. What about choosing a partner? So, you’ve been playing with Luis Estrada (who’s been on my show already) for a couple of years, when you look at all the pros, there seems to be like a, you know, mad dating matches and switching so regularly. But the truth is finding the right partner is a super important part of it. What kind of advice do you have? How do you figure out whether this is the right mate for you on the court?

Nico Agritelley  16:33

I think that from almost like, five minutes into playing with a new partner, you’ll know if you have good chemistry on the court, I think, yes, you need to have a partner with good level. But I think almost what’s more important than a high level is having really good chemistry on the court. I’ve played with some for fun matches, whatever. But I’ve played with some higher-level people than myself and then Luis, but I can tell that that individual and I just don’t have the same chemistry that Luis and I have. So, I would almost rather play with somebody a little bit, maybe lower level but have really good chemistry with. I know exactly what he’s going to do. Yes, Luis and I’ve been playing for two years, but almost from the first time we played, I had that feeling that I knew exactly what he was going to do on the court. He knew when I was going to move, he knew where I was going to go. So, for me that’s more valuable than having maybe like a 5%, better play rate, play level. If you and then I feel like you can feel that fairly quickly. When you’re playing with somebody. I get that feeling if I’m playing with somebody new and I can tell right away, we’re not really in sync, I don’t have the best chemistry with this person. So, maybe, maybe not everybody can tell right away, but I can tell…

Minter Dial  17:47

What about off-the-court chemistry? Because I think it’s very intriguing to think of the complementarity on a court, you know, the slacker on the left, the control guy on the right, you know, let’s go that way. But then in the chemistry, you have different call systems, and you have different personalities on the court. What about chemistry off the court?

Nico Agritelley  18:09

And I really think that’s important too. Because you’re traveling to tournaments, you’re going wherever you’re spending not only a lot of time two or three hours on court with this person, you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time with them off the court. So, if you’re off the court chemistry isn’t very good. I even think that’s going to bleed onto the court. Where if you’re not hanging around, if you don’t like to be around that person off the court, when you get on the court, I bet you that chemistry is not nearly as good as it could be or should be. Sorry, I think that off court chemistry is even very important as well, if you’re good friends with them, you can enjoy spending time with them that on the courts just going to be that much easier.

Minter Dial  18:48

I mean, I interviewed on my podcast because I have another podcast about leadership and I often interview people from professional sports, many others like rugby or cricket or whatever. And and this idea of being a pro or your professional, just shape up and get do the business. But I do believe that that personal element, that the emotions the reality of our situation, I had a fight with my girlfriend or whatever it bleeds onto the court and therefore you know, like your relations, the way you are off the court has to have an impact on the court.

Nico Agritelley  19:24

It’s on that point you need to have a be able to have an open line of communication with your partner as well. So, if your partner had a fight with their girlfriend or wife, they need to be okay with me sitting down with them saying hey, look, I know this happened off the court for two hours. Let’s focus right here and now just on padel. Let’s forget about that for two hours. This is our escape. Let’s focus up and then my partner needs to be okay with me telling them that or if I say hey man, I see that you’re really struggling with this shot today. Maybe after this tournament, like, you need to work on that. Or maybe my partner comes to me and says, Hey, Nico, I see that your fitness is lacking a little bit. I think you need to get in the gym a little bit more. I can’t take that personally. He wants what’s best for the team, I want what’s best for the team. So, if that’s kind of his observation, I need to take that with an open mind and say, Look, that’s going to make us this much better. I don’t need to take it personally and say, Oh, no, right? Where wherever I just get upset, like that open line of communication needs to be there.

Minter Dial  20:30

That’s a brilliant point. And what about the calls? Because, my observation, and I spoke with Luis about this. And I mean, so many times, when I’m playing in an Anglo-Saxon world, the idea of calling where the opponents are, they’re up, coming back, rushing up… You know? It’s, it’s almost like, it has troubles coming out of the mouth to communicate what’s going on there. So, set on, they’re watching us hit the shot, as opposed to telling them where the opposite points are? What about the communication style that you have with Luis? And what type of calling mechanics have you been working on, and improving in the way you play?

Nico Agritelley  21:12

I mean, kind of just what you said, like, we’re, if he’s hitting the ball, like, I’m not looking back at my partner, I’m looking straight forward at the opponents, and I’m calling exactly what they’re doing. And I use a system where we don’t say like, left back or right back, or I just say like, if the person in front of him, the person parallel to him, I’ll say you, meaning you

Minter Dial  21:35

back yours, yours are yours is back. Correct

Nico Agritelley  21:38

or yours is in? And the person in front of me and my down the line person, I say me? So, I’m back. I’m in. Because we play so many different people, for me to in the moment, try to remember names. Hey, Will’s back. And who’s his partner? There’s time, of course, before that, I know at the points over in the sets over. So, we try to keep it simple. And you’re back. I’m back both back both in keep it very short, very simple. So, the communication part is easy. And we’re not having to sit there and think, actually, so I speak just a little bit of Spanish. I’m improving my Spanish. But one of the things I do is I try to talk in Spanish on the court as well.

Minter Dial  22:24

And I feel more padel. It makes you feel more padel Right.

Nico Agritelley  22:29

Exactly. Yeah.

Minter Dial  22:35

Exactly. Beautiful. All right. Well, that’s good. That’s good stuff. What about you know, you’ve been playing now for seven years. And padel? This is the boy of padel. What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you around padel on the padel court off the court?

Nico Agritelley  22:50

Funniest thing? Maybe that story I told about losing the 2 15-year-olds. I mean, it happened a long, long time ago. But it’s a great story. And I tell almost everybody that story because people that I’m introducing into the sport, especially the tennis players, they want to play tennis on the court. So, I tell them that story, go look, I mean, you can play tennis on the padel court. But that’s only going to bring you up to a certain level. At some point, you’re going to reach players that are good enough where they’re able to counter your tennis game. And then you’re going to lose to 15-year olds, and then you’re going to feel like even more crap. Well,

Minter Dial  23:28

it does remind me of a conversation I had with an amazing squash coach from Trinity College, the polar Santi who had a 250 to match winning streak. So, he knew something about winning and the question I had for him was to what extent your strengths should be highlighted or your weaknesses need to be improved. And in this case, the lesson learned is from defeat, there’s obviously more lessons learned in defeat, but sometimes it can be lessons learned in victory. Which where do you fall on how to improve? Nico Agritelley.

Nico Agritelley  24:03

I think I would say more on the defeat side, for sure. The matches you win. Like I think you can still learn. Luis and I tried to record usually the semis on if we make it there. And we go back and we watch a lot of matches of our matches. And we’ll sit there and we’ll kind of dissect it. Like oh, okay, do you see what he did there? He hit that and then they like developing patterns. See, okay, that’s their pattern. This team they like to do this. Okay, great. And they noticed some of our patterns as well. Oh, hey, when they get logged in, they do the fast log down the middle where Luis you got to go over and take the Monday on the middle. You usually hit it here. We’re in this position. So, that’s not necessarily defeat or victory, but that’s a good way we’ve improved a lot, especially because he’s in Orlando, and I’m in Texas, where we don’t get a train together. I definitely think the defeats though because they hurt More. Usually you see something, or you’re exposed, or somebody found some sort of pattern that got you uncomfortable. So, for us, even though it hurts, that’s where we usually learn the most. The victories helped to because we see oh, hey, we were doing this pattern, and we were getting success. So, both sides, but I think the defeats usually end up providing more value more insight than the victories do.

Minter Dial  25:24

It’s one of the most fascinating things I think of padel versus 10, especially men’s doubles, is that you do have more time for more sequences and patterns. I mean, men’s doubles, tennis has been about it being better boom, basically, I mean, occasionally, there are long rallies. But in parallel, it’s more frequent that you see these patterns developing. And I was wondering about your experience working in playing against the top in the world? What, what is the difference? What’s it going to be? What’s it going to be for you and American to get into, let’s say, the top 20 in the world, how how’s that route going to happen?

Nico Agritelley  26:02

Unfortunately, that route is not going to happen for me here in the US. If Luis and I wanted to get into the top 20 We would need to move to Spain. us spending that month in January in Spain was huge, because we got to compete at that level, every single day. And I noticed a huge jump in my game and Luis’s game, not only from training with those guys, but playing matches every single day at that level. And we just don’t have that level here yet. In the US. Hopefully, it’ll come. I mean, we have Peter Alonso, who was top 20 in the world moved here a couple years ago. One Martine Diaz, who was he’s an absolute legend for the sport just moved to Miami as well. So, you’re having some of these guys that have retired, move over to the US. So, I think they’re kind of paving a pathway for maybe in the future. Some of these other top guys if they even though they’re still applying to come over the US and live here potentially train here and whatnot. Right now though. We just don’t have the level. So, for us, that’s the big difference maker is playing at that level every single day, day after day. It just getting used to the speed the speed is so much faster. If I set the ball up three or four inches too high at that level points over here in the US where we get away with a couple of mistakes here and there where we don’t get punished. And that’s the big difference makers shot tolerance, consistency, how effective are your shots?

Minter Dial  27:39

It does sound like we need a sort of a Messi effect you know, as in you know, the Leonel Messi coming over that we need, you know, when the Golan retires and such. That might be it and for me last sort of question, or Nico is around off the court. What is what is padel brought to you differently from the other sports you played? What life lesson has padel brought to Nico Agritelley?

Nico Agritelley  28:08

I mean, it’s brought me joy, for sure. But like growing up playing tennis, like I loved tennis in high school. I liked it in college. But it got to a point where I was really sick of tennis like, by junior year of college, I realized I didn’t want to go pro. I didn’t want to live that lifestyle. I was kind of getting bored of tennis. But I love competing. So, for me discovering padel right out of college was I was really lucky because I was able to compete at something I was decent at to start. And I was able to enjoy that learning curve, I’m able to get better, which is something that I it’s kind of like a drug you just get addicted to. With tennis. I peaked in college training every day through our practices, 5am gym sessions. I mean, and I played for 1718 20 years at that time. So, I was at the top of my game and the only way I was going to get better was to go pro and even then your improvements are minuscule. Were with this sport. I look back last year and I’m loads better this year than I was last year. I look back two years ago and I’m better a year ago than I was two years ago. And day by day you don’t really see the improvements. You’re kind of like oh, okay, yeah, but if you look back at the bigger scope a year ago, I’m way better now than I was a year ago. I bet you if I look back in 25 I’m going to be way better and 25 than I wasn’t 24 So, for me that’s that learning curve. That growth curve is something that I love looking back and seeing enjoying. Also, I’ve got to travel the world where I’d never would have been able to do is with tennis. I’ve been to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Qatar, Italy, all over the US, Canada Mac sickle cell for me that’s an amazing experience to and I get to do with one of my really good friends with Luis so…

Minter Dial  30:07

That’s beautiful. It sounds similar to a fun chap, a friend who was on the show recently, Danne Windahl from Sweden, had the same sort of feeling about tennis it was burned out no more learning and here you go the excitement and you’re going to you’re and you’re still young man that can have so much more potential so it’s so exciting. I did want to ask one last question which is about the PPL we didn’t speak about that. You will play for the Matrix a little bit and now you represent the New York Atlantics. Tell us about your experience in the PPL and what do you think of the prospects are for PPL and padel in the United States.

Nico Agritelley  30:43

So, a lot to unpack but I love the PPL. Last year, we had the first year was in Zephyr Hills. It was just five weeks. So, I spent all five weeks in Zephyr Hills competing for the Arkansas Matrix. Very lucky that my job gives me complete flexibility. So, I was able to just pack up my stuff and go and train and Zephyr Hills plan Zephyr Hills for five weeks. I had an incredible experience. I played almost every single match. Actually at the end of the year to I was awarded the MVP for the men of the entire league. I had an awesome experience we lost in the semis, the Matrix. Fast forward to this year. I make a switch switch teams. Now I’m on the New York Atlantic’s last year the rule was every team could have two internationals. This year they have rule you can have eight internationals, so all these teams are bringing these major firepower: Tapia came, Ari Sanchez came, Sanyo came. We had Campagnolo, we had Rami Moyano, we had Icardo, we had Virginia, we had Andrea Ustero. We have Chingotto and Paquito on the team. They didn’t come to this this first event, but they’re going to come to LA. So, you have this major firepower now in the PPL. So, for somebody like myself, I played almost every single match last year, I got the MVP. And then for me not to play this year, I mean, it really shows the increase in level. And it’s kind of a catch 22. Because I want the league to grow. I want the league to succeed. So, for the league to succeed, I think they needed to make this change. Viewership last year was probably small, attendance was very, very small. So, how are they going to increase viewership? How are they going to increase attendance. The US market doesn’t really know what the sport is. So, if you’re trying to shove a square hole in a circle peg mean you can try for so long but it’s still not going to fit. So, I think this move of making eight internationals per team was a good move. Let’s grow the league; let’s make it bigger and bigger, get more awareness behind it and then eventually maybe some Americans see that oh hey, there is some potential to play professional padel and make a decent living and do okay with it. Okay, now we can start to foster the American side of building more infrastructure, having more coaches so on so forth, but my experience this year was amazing. I got to spend two weeks with company although Campagnolo, Ramiro Icardo, Andrea I mean the team was awesome. Everything was great watching these guys Virginia watching everybody play with was so, so, so cool.

Minter Dial  33:30

So, it’s amazing, right when you watch their quality of play, and then you get to play the mixed doubles as well. I think that’s wonderful. It’s been great having you on Nico. I love your energy. It’s great to hear your passion enthusiasm for the sport. And certainly I hope as I said to Louisa, one day, I’ll get over there and you’ll show me how to hit a better shot. keep me alive, because that’s one of the things that keeps me going. In your in your own words. Luis, what’s the last word would you say for padel in America?

Nico Agritelley  34:03

Right, play it. Everybody I bring out to try the sport absolutely loves it. The biggest thing holding people behind is not having access to courts not having access to coaches. Find a court. I don’t care if you got to drive an hour and a half or you have to make a vacation to fly to Texas or fly to Miami. Do it. You’re going to play it. You’re going to love it.

Minter Dial  34:25

We’ll look you up in Dallas. Nico, muchos gracias. Era un placer.

Nico Agritelley  34:30

Muchas gracias a ti.

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