London Rocks! Warren brings padel home

While Euro football fever is set to grip the country again on Saturday when England take on Switzerland for a place in the semis, there’s another Euro battle kicking off tomorrow (Thursday) to decide the victor in the inaugural European Padel League (EPL).

The brainchild of London’s Rocks Lane Padel founder Chris Warren, the tournament has been moving around each of the participating countries, building up to the grand final at Rocks Lane, Chiswick, this weekend.

Home side London Rocks will be taking on teams including The Vikings of Jarfalla (Stockholm), Marbella Sun (the El Mirador Club), Riviera Icons (Grasse, South of France) and Vilamoura Friends (Algarve). The Vikings have made a strong showing so far in the competition and will no doubt be the team to beat this weekend.

Each team is comprised of what organisers describe as ‘some of Europe’s most competitive veteran (male) amateur players’ aged 45 years and over. Next season a women’s competition is planned, which Chris believes will ‘accurately reflect padel’s status as a sport with equal appeal for both women and men across the world’.

“It has been a fantastic pilot season that’s proven the EPL concept not only works, but it will thrive as the sport booms across the continent. We are excited to be drawing the curtain on this amazing season by bringing the finale to the home of the London Rocks team. I, for one, can’t wait for the competition and this festival of amateur padel to begin,” added Chris.

London Rocks padel team at the European Padel League in Marbella
The London Rocks team in Marbella.

The event kicks off tomorrow (Thursday) with the EPL Sprint Pro AM competition featuring professional and elite British players alongside competitive amateurs and celebrities from corporate and sporting backgrounds, including former GB and England Rugby 7s Olympian and TV personality Heather Fisher and English Rugby Union player and Olympian Alex Davis. This will be followed by a coaching masterclass from ex-professional players including ex-World Padel Tour player Álex Grilo, in the EPL Academy.

On Friday the focus shifts to the EPL Corporate Cup, with corporate players competing alongside EPL players. Saturday sees the EPL teams going head-to-head to decide who lifts the cup.

The EPL London event aims to highlight padel’s ability to drive interest, community engagement and excitement at the amateur level of the sport. At the heart of the league is a focus on developing the next generation of padel talent through the EPL’s Rising Stars Programme, with a newly established scholarship programme to train the next generation of professional padel players. Fees received from corporate events over the EPL London weekend will support this initiative. In addition to the main events, EPL London will offer free Junior Academy sessions, coached by Álex Grilo, to introduce young players to the sport.

Next season

The EPL returns in September for the 2024-25 season bigger and better, with  more teams, more players and more tournament locations. Teams joining the league include Milan, Belfast, Samobor ( Zagreb ), Rome, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The opener will be at the the iconic Padel Zenter Milan, the creation of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thomas Sandstrom, the trail blazer of Swedish Padel. Milan will be the first of six European and three international stops for the EPL’s second season, which will finish in London in July 2025. 🎾