Before the Christmas holidays, the SportLab Milano editorial team had the pleasure of being able to interview Sara D’Ambrogio, Serie A player in the padel specialty, coach of the Italian Junior National Team and athlete of the National team.
Sara, you were born as a tennis player, how did you meet the padel?
Yes, I was born as a tennis player and it is thanks to the latter that I got to know the padel.
For 15 years I worked as a teacher in a club in the province of Rimini, which wanted to invest, in unsuspecting times, in this new sport, padel.
It was love at first sight, I immediately felt it would be my sport; in fact, when I entered the cage, I never got out.
I decided to devote myself completely to padel thus abandoning everything related to tennis, including teaching.
Since that moment I have invested 100% of my time in padel.
I am aware that I have made a really important choice, above all because I was a tennis champion when I was little and for years I followed this sport in all its facets, but the heart cannot be controlled and I abandoned one love, for another even greater one.
How did you become a series A padel athlete?
A stroke of luck, a tangle of facts and new possibilities that were opening up to me, and I didn't know it.
The federation lacked a team to play in Serie A, we proposed, then entering the repechage.
We entered as complete strangers and in that first year we already reached the top eight in Italy to play for the title.
I repeat I had been playing for a few months and from there I had confirmation that I could do something beautiful with this sport, without knowing that in a few months I would also become Italian Champion.
How much do you train during the week?
The last time was a few months ago.
I've never had a teacher, I've never had a guide and I've always done everything by myself.
Yes, I have always been around between tournaments or clinics in Italy.
And when I teach I often do it with amateurs, who do not have the necessary level to ensure that I can really train. My training has always been to play directly on the pitch with the opponents.
They are a bit of an atypical case.
What are the differences between tennis and padle? Are they that much opposite?
There are differences, but also similarities.
Example of similarities: the use of the racket in the hand. but they are completely different. The padel court is smaller. Some strikes are similar, and in tennis there are also twice as many. In padel there are no single competitions, but there are fields, but less widespread. Mainly it is played in 4.
The main difference is that here the ball is always in motion as there are the walls which are an integral part. So there are more variations, more different game dynamics than tennis.
For those who do it at an amateur level and for mere passion, tennis is very difficult technically and to be able to dribble decently it takes a year.
Padel at an amateur level is much easier and above all you have fun right away.
Obviously this does not apply to the professional field, where there is great technique.
You were the first woman to open an academy in Italy, how did the idea come about?
It has always been a dream in the drawer, above all because I have always traveled to various Italian clubs to do clinics, but I have always wanted to do something bigger.
So in June, or rather before June, I had a clinic in Carpenedolo (BS), where I really liked the environment that surrounded me. It must have been fate or destiny but it was the owner of the club who postponed me, beating me on time, since I was about to make him the same offer.
A harmony born practically immediately and from there I decided to finally embark on this project.
Federal instructors work within my academy. Every month I create exercises, inventing them, designing them, structuring them in the best possible way to be able to always propose new things. Every three days a month I go there to train them and above all to watch the progress of the people.
Once a week we have a video call to talk about the academy and the progress of the kids.
It was born practically by chance, but it was a great pride, because it is going really well.
Then in Cattolica I opened the second academy and in 2022 perhaps it will also bring a third academy!
As she also told in her post on instagram: 2021 was a year where she had the opportunity to make many dreams come true, both with the junior national team and with the academy, but above all as a player.
Do you follow a routine before a competition?
You know Nadal? Here, he is a rookie compared to me.
I have many rituals to do before each competition, I have "accumulated" them over time so that I don't even remember which one I started from.
I start from the bag, choosing one rather than others, and then take the grip to put on before the game or how to remove certain rings or put on a certain band.
But as I told you, Nadal, he doesn't mind and we could stay here hours and hours talking, without making sure I can tell you all.
The last one I entered is to put yours WARMUP CREAM, I love to use it, and now it's just become a pre-competition ritual.
We of the Sportlab Milano team are happy to par of your routine!
And at this point I can't help but ask you which products you use for your sportcare?
Now that we are in the winter period, I use the WARMUP CREAM, especially for me who often play in a skirt and go to clubs that are unable to warm up the pitch properly.
So I can warm up my legs as best I can before competitions to avoid injuries, especially because I suffer a lot from contractures, especially in the cold.
After Sport, I use anti-fatigue (FEET RELAX And COOLDOWN CREAM), which I have not been able to consistently fit into my routine, but I believe that the Before and After Sport combination are exceptional for every sportsman.
Let's make a small recap of your next projects.
- Being able to train in a cost-effective way both physically and athletically.
- Open a third academy
- I would like to try to do some World Padel tour tournaments outside of Italy.
- By becoming a national teacher I could also follow professional athletes one day, never say never ..
Let's cross our fingers and hope for this 2022!