Francisco Navarro Compán, better known as “Paquito” Navarro, is a professional padel player who was born on February 10, 1989 in Seville. At 1.81m tall, this Spanish athlete is famous for being a right-handed return and position player who has a slightly short and not-so-athletic style of play. This weakness, however, he makes up for with super smart and elegant gameplay.
“Paquito” began his professional career in 2009, showing great talent from a very young age. Together with Adrián Allemandi he began to show what he was capable of on court, but it was when he joined Sanyo Gutiérrez that his name began to resonate in this sport.
Paquito became one of the most complete players in padel in 2017, in fact, together with Sayo, he seriously challenged the star couple of that time: Pablo Lima and Fernando Bela. Later, his partner separated from “Paquito” to play with Maxi Sánchez, which caused him to join Juan Martín Díaz.
An accident that took him away from the courts
During the semifinals of the Portugal Padel Masters 2018, against Juani Mieres and Miguel Lamperti, he suffered an accident after breaking the glass of the wall and falling on him, generating deep cuts on his elbows and knees that forced the doctors to take stitches in these areas of the body.
Given the injuries of “Paquito”, Juan Lebrón took the opportunity to combine with Juan Martín Díaz in the remainder of the tournament
Becomes number 1
Francisco went back to his original partner, Juan Martín, but only after a few tournaments, they officially parted ways to get back together with Pablo Lima. In the 2019 season, he changed partners to combine with Juan Lebron, a brilliant move because both would end up writing the history of Spanish padel, he even ended up becoming number one in the world ranking.
Navarro boasts in a flashback that no player had, crediting himself as a backhand player who knows how to defend against the smartest attacks. But, in addition, his greatest quality is his ability to attack after defending.
His extensive repertoire of shots is executed with mastery, allowing his game to be unpredictable for his opponents and very attractive for the spectator public.
Nowadays his partner is Martin Di Nenno, together they have made an incredible couple. They have won WPT Vigo last week and they are one of the stronger pair in the world at the moment.
Off the Back-wall: It is undoubtedly his best shot and he himself baptized it as the “Cucchilla” (Chopper), a shot that he executes with all the power from above, achieving a remarkable slice effect that is almost impossible to defend and block at the net. And it is that due to the effect that the ball carries, it comes out flush with the ground bouncing, therefore, it is practically impossible to respond to this blow.
Smash: He has an admirable determination for shots, in fact, he is one of the best on the circuit. Especially because of the ease with which he can take the ball out by 3, mixing flat or topspin shots to return the ball to his field. All without his opponent being able to return it, given the height the ball reaches.
High forehand off the back-wall: For many experts in the field “Bajada de Pared” is one of his best shots. It is a flat shot that is made when the ball is at its highest point, after contact with the back wall.
Volley: The versatility of “Paquito” in hitting is genuine. He has the ability to surprise his opponent with a backhanded volley, following a rise from his opponents, leaving the ball close to the net, either using his right hand or the backhand. Or with a deep and cut ball, making the rival have to flex as much as possible to get the ball a few centimeters from the grass.
Lob: His “snow” lob is usually very common, a ball that reaches a height that no other professional padel player is capable of achieving.
Mobility. He is neither the fastest nor the most physical player in the world, but his intelligent style of play weighs too heavily. Although being a little faster on the court would help him a lot to take more advantage over his rivals.
A very tactical player
When he played with players like Juan Martín Díaz and Juan Lebron, “Paquito” didn’t have the need to show a particularly solid offense. But, as a professional padel player, he was forced to develop his attack with an excellent volley, however, he is considered more of a game engine and distributor.
Now, when he has played with other players whose strength is defense, like Pablo Lima, he tends to use soft layups more, balls placed near the net or go to the side glass and high lobs. These types of playing maximize your tactical strength, making it easier for you to get to the top of the court.
We can say that he is a very analytical player, he even knows exactly how to dictate the timing in games.