Ian O'Connell



How did you get into padel?

Like many Padel players, I came from tennis. And to be honest, I sort of discovered Padel by accident. 


I had struggled with knee injuries on the tennis court for years. I tried Padel as an alternative and the rest is history. It's just as physically demanding, but doesn't trigger the knee injury in the same way tennis does. 


I think it's unlikely I'll return to tennis, even if the knees recover. Padel takes a lot more discipline, and requires a more tactical and strategic mindset. The points are longer and more exhilarating, yet it's much easier for beginners to pick up. It's also extremely social. I don't like comparing the two sports but in many ways, Padel can offer more than tennis can. 


How often do you train/play?

At least 4-5 times a week, sometimes 6-7times if the weather is good. I predominantly play matches but I have at least two training sessions per week, both with the Irish squad and with my own coach in a 1:1.


What has been your biggest achievement so far?


Representing Ireland abroad and playing in the Madison Masters finals in Madrid are definitely up there. 


My favourite moment was when I teamed up with my coach and we came runners up in a tournament. It's a great feeling to pair up the guy who introduced me to the sport and trained me to get to that level. 


Your favourite player?

Pablo Lima 


Favourite racket?

Conqueror 10.0 - it's a cannon 


Favourite location to play?

Marbella under the baking sun.


Why did you sign with Drop Shot?

A few reasons actually - first and foremost, i really like the kit and rackets. People wearing Drop Shot gear always catch my eye and the rackets feel amazing to play with.


I'm also really happy to see what Drop Shot is doing to help build the sport at the grass roots level. We all want to see this sport grow and while it's great to be focused on the competitive side, I really like the way Drop Shot takes the time to run workshops across the UK, to help introduce new players into our community. 


What are your top tips for people looking to get into padel?

Just try it. It's a really easy to play sport compared to others. Usually clubs have beginners nights, which are excellent for meeting new players at the same level. 


Once you've tried it a few times, get some lessons! Using the wall isn't intuitive but easy to learn; getting someone to show you the basics will enormously improve your confidence and ability on court. 


If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Hawaii


If you had to become an inanimate object for a year what object would you choose?


If you had a parrot what would you teach it to say?

"Patience" 

Whether it's during a point, training for months or just generally in life, it pays to be patient. Good work always shines through eventually, you just have to be patient sometimes.