Juan Martín Díaz Martínez, also known as “El Galleguito”, is a professional padel player born on November 28, 1975, in Mar del Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Those who have followed this sport for years, consider him one of the best padel players in history, thanks to his reflexes, creativity and ability on the court, including his achievements in different tournaments as a professional.
During his childhood he dreamed of being a prestigious tennis player, one of his goals was to play in the Davis Cup. People say he played a lot at the Club Deportivo in the company of his friends.
It was at the end of the 80’s that he began to dabble in paddle tennis, a time when this sport began to have a presence in Argentina. From that moment on, days went by and Juan gradually abandoned tennis to play this new sport.
With his first partners, Ezequiel Lorenzo and Leo Padovani, many already considered him as a great promise of padel, because it was increasingly difficult to beat him on the court. His insertion in the professional paddle would come in 1994, thanks to Paco Pellejo, who chose him as a playing partner.
A year later, however, he became the partner of Alejandro Sanz, a padel idol at the time, nicknamed “El Mago” (The Magician). In 1997, finally, he travelled to Spain and the following year he competed in the World Cup, with Spanish nationality, in his hometown, Mar del Plata.
A successful career
In 2001, he became Fernando Belasteguín‘s partner, together they formed a very successful team in many Spanish professional padel circuits. Especially the Padel Pro Tour (PPT), a tournament in which he was considered the number 1 duo for many years. It is, in fact, the only couple in the history of this sport to remain undefeated for 1 year and 9 months, winning 23 consecutive tournaments.
Together they were victorious in 170 of the 191 finals they played, both in the Padel Pro Tour and the World Padel Tour (WPT), being number 1 for 13 years in a row. In 2015 Juan and Fernando seek new horizons, and “El Galleguito” pairs up as Juani Mieres and then with Maxi Sanchez. Then:
- In 2017, halfway through the season, the Argentine formed a pair with Paquito Navarro, demonstrating a good level in the European Padel Spain, winning the title.
- In 2018, after the separation of Sanyo Gutierrez and Paquito Navarro, Juan participates in the World Padel Tour with Navarro, especially because of the good game they exhibited together with the Spanish national team.
- In the first tournament of that year, the Catalunya Master, they lost in the quarterfinals. In the second tournament, they reached the semifinals and in the third, in Zaragoza, they lost against Sanyo Gutierrez and Maxi.
- Three tournaments later, they returned to play a final in Bastad (Sweden), where they lost to Fernando Belasteguín and Pablo Lima.
- In the Portugal Masters, Paquito had an accident in the semifinals, crashing into the glass of the court, which forced them to withdraw from the tournament. After his partner could not play the Granada Open, “El Galleguito” paired up with Juan Lebron to play the end of the season.
For the 2019 season, Juan Martin chose as his partner the young Argentinean promise (at that time) Agustin Tapia.
However, at the Jaen Open tournament in May, Juan Martin Diaz began to feel discomfort in his knee and had to give up playing, recommended by doctors, his second match.
Unfortunately, later, the diagnosis of this discomfort was that of a partial tear of the quadricipital tendon, having to undergo surgery, as he had to do, and for the same reason, on November 24, 2016. And that was the end of his 2019 season.
After a long recovery
In 2020, after returning to the courts after almost a year off due to his knee injury, Juan Martin teamed up with Lucas Campagnolo. Together with the Brazilian he signed four quarter finals, although they failed to qualify for the Master Final, finishing in the 21st position of the Race.
In August, due to a muscular injury to Lucas Campagnolo, Juan Martin had to look for another partner. His choice, perhaps surprisingly to many as he was not a player who was used to seeing in the final rounds of tournaments, not even many times in the final draw, was Diogo Rocha.
In September, at the Sardinia tournament, Juan Martin played with Antonio ‘Pincho’ Fernandez, falling in the second round against Agustin Silingo and Martin Di Nenno.
In 2021, Juan Martin Diaz started the season with Coki Nieto, until, in June, he announced his separation to face another project with Pablo Lijo, with whom he finished the season. His best results were 3 quarter finals (Valladolid, Alicante and Malaga), finishing in the 25th position of the ranking.
In 2022, Juan Martin announced on his social networks that he would start the season with Agustin Gutierrez. However, he then followed his path with Álex Arroyo to finish the year with Miguel Benítez.
Finally, for this 2023, Juan Martin Diaz will pair up with the “Rock”, Agustin Gomez Silingo.
Although some time ago Juan Martin said he wouldn’t play in Premier Padel, he surprised us all and signed up for the Ooredoo Qatar Major Premier Padel, losing against Ruiz-Bergamini (3-6, 6-2, 6-3), who were finalists of the Milano P1 last December.
Juan Martín Diaz – Skills
- Juan is a real “zar” of paddle tennis on the court, as he is a player with the ability to surprise his opponents with every shot and to make returns that are almost impossible.
- Throughout his career, he has stood out for being quite an offensive player, in fact, he always takes advantage of the slightest opportunity to go to the net and not leave it until the point is achieved.
- Fans and players admire him for his wonderful reflexes, even his confidence is such that he stays at the net while his partner defends the court. It may seem that this action does not bring benefits for the couple, but it ends up being a strategy that unbalances their rivals.
- Off the court he is well known for his humility and cordial treatment with those who approach him. He does not limit himself to chatting with fans who want to greet him.
A padel legend
Juan is, without a doubt, one of the most outstanding players in the history of padel, especially for winning 13 championships in a row. Being number 1, in the company of Fernando Belasteguín, after winning 23 tournaments in a row, a feat that to date no other padel couple has surpassed and that will be very difficult to overcome.
We can say that “El Galleguito” has managed to win almost all the titles that exist in this sport at the professional level. And both on and off the court he is very popular with fans. His rivals respect him greatly for his ability to return balls that many consider impossible.
It is clear that Juan Martin Diaz has been a legend in the sport of padel after being number 1 for 13 consecutive years with Fernando Belasteguin. In fact, surely, despite the fact that he hasn’t been a top pairing for a few years now, to still be a professional player at 47 years of age and after two knee operations, is a feat, or at the very least, worthy of achieving.
Now, the question that perhaps all his fans are asking themselves and that nobody knows the answer to is, how long will we see Juan Martin on the professional circuit? As always, time will tell. In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy his talent, creativity and skill on the court.
And to finish this article, a quote from him that perhaps explains, in part, why in padel there are so many changes of partners even within the same season.
“Padel is an individual sport played in pairs, but everyone is different, has their own objectives and interests. It’s a business, and you have to understand it that way”.
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