Fernando Belasteguín, known as “Bela” to friends and fans, is a true Padel legend. From 2002 right through to 2017 he was the unprecedented, World Number 1, claiming no less than 230 of the 286 finals he played, something never seen previously in any other sport.
Padel is very much an up and coming sport. Bela hails from Argentina where it is a national sport with 4 million players.
It is not only his relationship with time that draws him to the Richard Mille brand. 'We share the same attention to detail. We both believe in breaking barriers'. The main link with the brand’s ethos however is the same source of inspiration which inspires him on court. 'It’s all about family. If anyone knows a better motivation, please tell me! Triumph for me is not being at the top for 16 years – it’s being able to look in the eyes of my parents, my wife and children and know that I did the absolute best I could.' explained Fernando.
Bela is convinced being part of the Richard Mille family will help his quest to make padel grow its ever-increasing popularity. There are two reasons he is delighted to wear the RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal. Firstly, Rafa is 'my all-time hero, in any sport' – and secondly, he glows - 'just look at the colours. They are the white and blue of Argentina - it’s just perfecto!'
Beyond his on-court achievements, Bela's impact on the sport extends to his sportsmanship and dedication to promoting padel worldwide. In 2020, he created the first Bela Padel Center, a padel-specific sports complex and also home to the Bela Padel Academy, which offers lessons for players of all levels.
His charismatic personality and engaging playing style have contributed significantly to the sport's growth and popularity across all continents.