Kristina, when and where did you learn padel?
I was living in Aix en Provence (south of France) when end of 2007 my physio told me that his wife was looking for a padel partner. As he knew i was a good tennis player, he asked me to try with the challenge to go with the French National Team to the 2008 Padel World Championship in Calgary (Canada).
I tried, I liked it, 6 months later I quit tennis, I went with France to Calgary and we brought the 4th place with the female National team, best ranking ever after the 3 and best countries (Argentina, Spain and Brasil!).
But at that time there was no coach to teach me how to play padel, only padel partners giving me tips (one was giving me one tip and the other one was saying the opposite..!!). I remember it took me months to understand the walls and years for the bandeja ( I was watching Youtube videos of Carolina Navarro in Spanish to try to understand it )…
That was not easy but we did not surrender as we were padel addicts! I am glad to see that more and more padel coachs are around the world to guide and give the keys to padel beginners.
What has been your best tournament win?
I will pick an emotional one as we are living a special Covid moment.
It was last year in a big FIT tournament in Italy (August 2020). The first tournament post lockdown #1.
I was playing with Manuela a girl from Torino and it was our first tournament together ever. Conditions were very difficult (around 35*C and humid). We were one set down in the semi finale and same scenario in the finale against very talented girls in their 20’s (much younger than us). We never gave up, managed to find the keys, motivated each other in down moments, and we came back each time to win.
I also played very well during the finale and I was thankful that my runs of 540 stairs during the lockdown every 2 days helped me a lot phyiscally to resist in extreme conditions (3 matchs in less than 24 hours). As the men finale finished before us, we played the 3rd set with around 100 people watching the match and it was great to see them enjoying our finale full of suspens. This victory was meaning a lot after almost 3 months full lockdown, under very tough weather conditions, big cheering audience… and also it was a fun week end with my padel partner (Padel is not only about playing but also about sharing experiences on court and off court). #
The combination of all this made it special to me : making me feel free, alive and kicking again!
What has been your career highlight so far?
Represent France during 3 World Championships (2008 / 2010/ 2012) and get the bronze medal in 2012 in Cancun. Representing your country is an exceptionnal unique moment to live. At that time we were very amateur in France, and these events allowed us to play against the best players in the world (Argentinian and Spanish teams).
Having the #1 on the other side of the court is just an unbelievable moment to live (we were feeling a bit of pressure…!). A week of full padel among players of so many different countries, in a cheerful atmosphere. We came back each time even more padel addicted from the world championships.
Another big highlight was to play a tournament with a VERY special player : Gemma Triay #3 World Padel Tour (I had stars in my eyes and learned a lot while playing at her side).
How long have you been with Nox and what does the future hold for you and them?
After 1 year and half in Birmingham (where I developped padel there and coached Tia Norton), I moved back to France (Jan. 2017 ) and NOX became my sponsor at that moment.
A few months later, NOX asked me if i would be interested to develop the brand in France as an agent. I said yes… and I dont regret it! This is how it all started. Things went very well and moved quickly for me as I became the Export manager 18 months after the beginning of my NOX adventure.
As Padel is now booming in so many coutries worldwide, it keeps me very busy, and it is a very exciting project to be able to mix my padel passion with work & travels.
NOX, famous in Spain, is now also recognized as a top padel brand abroad. It is a family company with a lot of ambition and creativity to give the best padel products to the padel addicts wherever they are.
Best example, now we are launching our first padel shoe collection, THE FIRST PADEL SHOE DESIGNED FOR YOUR HEALTH, CLINICALLY ENDORSED AND LABORATORY CERTIFIED.
Would you like to go to the Go Padel Clubs one day and what is your opinion on Go Padel?
Of course, when Covid lets us travelling again, I would love to travel back to the UK and finally play at the Go Padel Clubs, as I have been following and supporting its ‘main man’ Richard Hall Smith for a few years now!
I love the idea that developped by Go Padel Clubs from the beginning : create an academy focused on juniors. Kids are the padel future!
‘We so agree with you there Kristina! look out for more news on this soon…
Kristina started supporting our clubs at the very beginning, when Maldon was only a baby, now we have 4 clubs and are growing bigger month by month – thanks to our fantastic members and players.
On another note, having used a variety of products in the past from various good brands my personal opinion is Nox produce the best Padel rackets and on a personal note I’d like to thank them for making me a UK Ambassador.
Kristina, keep up the great work the whole of padel is benefitting!’