“Polish Hammer”, “The best left hand in the Polish padel” – these are just some of the terms used to describe Mateusz Lipiński. In our country there’s no one like him – five-time Polish champion tile and a bronze medal at the European Championships speak for themselves. When talking about his success, he emphasizes the huge role of his friends, who supported him on the way to the top. He is also eager to share his talent with others – as a padel and tennis coach. The biggest challenge of the season, the Kraków-Malopolska 2023 European Games, is coming, and all fans will be welcomed there – because nothing cheers him on like the support of the home crowd. “It makes me feel like I’m indestructible,” he says.
Your adventure with the padel, as it often happens, began with tennis, in which you achieved great success. What made you decide to “rebrand” – what attracted you to padel?
For sure the big influence at the beginning of my paddle adventure was my former tennis coach Rafał Kabulski. He invited me to play together in a tournament, in which, if I remember correctly, we took 4th place – and it was then that I fell in love with the sport. Padel has everything I loved about tennis. It is a doubles game in which you have to show a lot of patience, cleverness, feel and tactics. Not to mention that padel is very dynamic, and during one stroke the whole action can turn 180 degrees. This gives even more adrenaline and excitement, which I love when I’m on the court.
In our country, you’ve reached the absolute top – you are not only a five-time Polish champion, but also a bronze medalist in the European Championships. How did you manage to achieve so much? Talent, luck, hard work – or maybe a mix of all of these?
I think it’s a combination of all the things mentioned, as well as the help and support of my friends, including Kuba Słomiński and Łukasz Cyrański, who were the first to see my potential in this sport, and helped me get to the level I’m at today. I am immensely grateful to them for that.
There are countries, such as Spain, where padel has already gained almost the status of a national sport. How do you assess the condition of padel and its future in Poland?
Padel in Poland is becoming more and more recognized. New facilities are being built all over the country, you can see a huge increase in the number of people trying their hand at the sport, and I look at it with great joy. I think that over time, the popularity of the sport will continue to grow. Looking at how the sport has developed in recent years in Western countries or Scandinavia, one can be optimistic about the future.
Is there anyone in the world of padel who particularly impresses you? Or do you have a dream opponent you haven’t had the opportunity to face yet?
In the padel world, I particularly admire Paquito Navarro. He has been my idol ever since I watched him for the first time. He impresses me most with his prowess on the court, his specific character, and his very unconventional style of play. Unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to meet him on the opposite side of the net, but I believe that a day will come, and I will be able to face my padel authority.
Considering the rapid development of your career, the day will surely come! Meanwhile, what are your future plans for this season?
My main goal in 2023 are the European Games. I am preparing for them very intensively on and off the court. Just before the tournament in Kraków, I would like to defend the title of Polish champion. After the Games, I plan to play tournaments abroad, which will help me qualify for the biggest tournaments in the world. In the meantime, I have a couple of training camps planned in Spain. It looks like it’s going to be a very interesting year.
During the European Games in Kraków, we will have the opportunity to play against the best. Which team will be the most dangerous opponent for us? How do you assess our chances?
Certainly, the most dangerous opponent will be the Spanish. They are undisputedly the best in the world. After them I would type France. I think we have a chance to be the dark horse of this tournament. Together with my long-time partner on the court, Maciek Naduk, we are making tremendous progress practically from tournament to tournament, achieving better and better results, and competing as equals against teams that on paper seem much better than us. I believe we are capable of fighting with the best.
At the Games you will play “at home”, in front of a Polish audience – does it create more pressure for you, or does the support of does it feel super-upligting?
I can certainly admit that the cheering of the Polish audience will give me wings. The support of the fans spurs me on in a very positive way. It is known that it involves additional pressure, but I love this state, where emotions and adrenaline are even greater. That’s when I feel I can accomplish the impossible and become a better version of myself on the court. I feel like I am indestructible. This is a wonderful feeling, and I am already looking forward to it.
Let’s leave the padel topic at the end – will you tell us something about yourself? What do you do privately, what are your interests?
On daily basis, I am a tennis and padel coach. I recently graduated from sports studies. My main interests are politics, gym and e-sports, and I try to spend any free time with my girlfriend. I love listening to music. I practically have headphones in my ears all the time. I am also fascinated by traveling. My dream is to visit all of Asia and North America.
So we wish you as many of these trips as possible – after winning the tournament at the Games, of course!