Franco Stupaczuk, better known as Stupa, is a professional padel player who was born in Argentina on May 25, 1996. With a height of approximately 1.80 m, this player does not stand out for being the most physical of all, but he is quite agile and knows how to take advantage of his vertical height, above all, through his flat jump shot.
At the age of 8 Franco Stupaczuk was already national champion in his country. And at 16 he was ranked number 1 in the Argentine Association after competing in the World Padel Championship Cup. His then partner, Martin Di Nenno, was seriously injured and Stupa started playing with Marcello Jardim for the 2016 season.
During his last season, Franco showed a great level of play and then changed partners for the 2017 season and joined Cristián Gutiérrez. The Argentine duo managed to win the 2017 Mijas Open and the 2017 Gran Canaria Open. The two continued playing together during the 2018 season and beat Maxi Sanchez and Sanyo Gutierrez, the #1 ranked team in 2018.
Subsequently, Franco Stupaczuk continued to improve his game and matured to join one of the best Argentine players, Sanyo Gutierrez.
Since we started watching Stupa play, he has always covered most of the ground. He prefers to occupy a high position at the net and makes trays far away from his partner’s side. His agility allows him to interpret opponents’ lobs well and he is usually eager to finish the scoring with jump shots from the middle of the court.
Here are some of his strengths on the track:
Aerial play has always been his strongest trait. In fact, the smash is his favorite move and the one he capitalizes on the most. Over the years, the Argentine has become a more proficient aerial player. He has now developed a variety of grill or side wall spins as a way to continue to build the score. In addition, the fake mash is a key asset in his wide range of attacking options.
– Defensive volley:
Stupa tries to move quickly to a deeper net position. As play flows to her partner or after a high lobby, she usually takes a few steps toward the net. As a transfer game, he must defend the opponent’s stroke with a strong volley, usually in the middle of the court. On the other hand, against strong flanks or hits coming from the wall, Franco responds with a solid defensive volley to keep his position at the net strong.
One of the mental qualities that has improved the most is his maturity on the court. With a relatively short career, this padel player has progressed a lot. Stupa, who before was just an offensive padel player, with many shots throughout the game, has improved his shot selection by following an intelligent game plan.
Franco has around 70% efficiency in winning matches. He is certainly still at the beginning of his career, but he is far away from other young players like Alé Galán and Juan Lebrón. After playing alongside Sanyo Gutierrez, he has managed to reach a winning efficiency of around 72%. The fact is that the Argentine needs to maintain those numbers if he wants to have any chance of competing against the top names.
To achieve greater efficiency, Stupa needs to accumulate more wins against higher ranked players. With Sanyo he has already shown some good results, but he still needs to work on his main weakness:
– Partner dependency
We have seen a gradual improvement in Stupa’s performance over the years. In fact, he has improved quite a bit, but it has been mainly based on the skills of his teammates. When he was partnered with a strong defensive player like Cristián Gutiérrez, Franco was a much more aggressive player.
On the contrary, with Sanyo he showed more qualities and was a much better playmaker. Generally, Sanyo seemed to end up scoring with a big shot from the middle of the court, while Stupa covered less ground and switched to a tighter player.
Is Stupa really improving or does he need to rely on his partner’s skills and playing style to reach higher ranking positions? Let’s not forget that padel is a solo sport played with a partner on the court. Only time will tell if he personally can advance to higher ranking positions.
¿Is he a promising youngster?
The Argentinean faces competition not only from the young Agustin Tapia, but also from the Spanish duo: Alé Galán and Juan Lebron. Agustin is younger, shows more advanced playing skills and is mentored by the legendary Fernando Bela. While the Spanish duo continues with the padel game, Stupa may soon have to drop out of the race. The mental improvements are measurable, but Franco must start winning more titles if he wants to make the jump to the top of the World Padel Tour rankings.