Dekel Bar and Nick Sutcliffe smiling with gold medals
Nick Sutcliffe and Dekel Bar winning gold at a padel tournament in Texas. Dekel Bar

Dekel Bar teams up with pro squash player Nick Sutcliffe to win padel tournament 

DALLAS, TX – Dekel Bar recently joined forces with professional squash player Nick Sutcliffe to claim gold at a padel tournament in Austin, TX.

The pair had never competed in a padel event before, but played a handful of times with Ben Johns and Collin Johns over the past few months.

“This was both of our first times competing in padel,” explained Sutcliffe. “But, we both have extensive tournament experience from our main sports.” 

Admittedly, Sutcliffe found significant overlap between squash and padel, more so than squash and pickleball.

“In terms of both grip and ball-striking mechanics, there is a need to cut (slice) the ball severely on nearly every shot in padel and squash, versus the flatter or topspin techniques you might typically find in pickleball,” he explained. “In padel, the ball is required to contact the ground on the opposite side of the net before hitting any of the walls. Using slice removes energy from the ball and causes it to travel low and ‘die’ in the back corners as opposed to kicking up off a wall, which allows for an easy return or counter-attack.”

However, padel is still a unique and distinct sport with its own challenges that must be navigated.

Case in point, the walls.

“The endless combination of ricochets and angles that become available as the ball deflects off walls and into corner areas are one of the most unique and appealing elements of both sports,” noted Sutcliffe. “They also present some of the most significant technical challenges on court, requiring early perception of the probable ball path, efficient and fast footwork, mobility, and some unique swing mechanics that need to be learned over a long period of time in order to be successful in retrieving balls from these areas of the court.” 

When asked what it was like playing alongside Bar, Sutcliffe had this to say:

“Dekel couldn’t be easier to play with. He’s so experienced in doubles sports, having been both a very high-level tennis player and now doubles pickleball player. He has a natural ability to read, play, and select the right shots,” he praised. “It’s always interesting playing new sports with a partner because you’re both learning new patterns and techniques, but Dekel’s solid ball-striking and decision-making definitely had us set up for success.”

Even with limited padel training, it’s clear their respective racket sports backgrounds prepared the duo for success.

“Our winning strategy for this one was to try and rely on our natural strengths. Dekel’s infamous overhead work played a big part in our offensive plays, and I was able to keep the points alive with back corner retrievals and cover work, setting Dekel up with the putaways,” explained Sutcliffe.

With padel gradually growing in popularity in the U.S., I think we can definitely see more padel, pickleball, and squash player crossovers in the near future.