Press Release

A South African-Swedish business consortium is serving up a feast of a new kind of tennis like never seen before on the African continent.

Strictly speaking, it’s not tennis. It’s known as Padel, a hybrid between tennis and squash, and it’s universally referred to as the fastest growing sport in the world, with more than 10 million people playing in over 60 countries. Now Africa Padel is giving those on the African con4nent the opportunity to be part of the global phenomenon.

With the sport tipped to be included in the 2024 Paris Olympics, it’s hardly surprising to see tennis greats such as Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova among the early adopters.

But others known to be big fans include Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, as well as some of football’s biggest names such as David Beckham, Jurgen Klopp, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lionel Messi has installed a padel court at his Barcelona home where he plays often with former teammate Luis Suarez.

The explosion in the growth of the sport is attributed to the fact that while it’s a great workout, it’s low impact and easy on the body, highly competive, and incredibly social. Thanks to the glass walls and fences surrounding the court, the ball rarely goes out of play, creating longer rallies and making it harder to finish off points with brute force.

There are currently a sprinkling of courts around South Africa. The first one open to the public in the country was built in Roodepoort, Johannesburg in March last year by a different company.

What sets Africa Padel apart, however, aside from its strong brand, is its vision for rapid growth across the African continent, at a pace in keeping with the global explosion in the sport.

Already, the group’s first court inside the historic Rotunda at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay is booked for 8-10 hours a day, and it’s not even formally operating yet. This club will open mid-June and by October, building up momentum during a soft launch June to October, when Padel Africa officially launches, there will be at least another three clubs up and running (V&A Waterfront, Constantia, and one in Johannesburg) with potentially Clovelly Country Club, Franschhoek, Plettenberg Bay, and others close to completion.

The brain behind the business is serial entrepreneur Philippe “PK” Kjellgren of PK’s List fame. The Swede has visited over 2000 luxury hotels in 140 countries and is widely considered to be the global authority on where to stay. He and his Canadian wife Vi fell in love with Cape Town on their travels and decided to put down semi-permanent roots here.

Megon Chavhanga is his Chief Padelista, managing operations for South Africa and the group’s South African expansion. The businesswoman, writer and speaker is also the wife of former Springbok rugby player Tonderai.
The group is administered by the Africa Padel Association, which is chaired by Megon with South African Luke Potter as President, and which will oversee the development of the sport here and across the continent. As part of its philanthropic commitment, Africa Padel will build and equip one court in a disadvantaged community for every 10 commercial courts built. The first will be in Langa managed by Project Playground, a charity-driven by another Swede Frida Vesterberg together with HRH Princess Sophia of Sweden over the past 10 years.

Once several South African venues are operational the idea is to introduce partners who can roll out additional sites across Africa, allowing for large investment and employment opportunities. Not to mention the merchandising that goes along with each center – the rackets are very specific and the balls are slightly smaller than those of tennis.

When he started the operation, instead of seeking investment, Africa Padel Chairman and Founder, PK, invited the following global business heavyweights to be equal founding partners:

Fabrice Pastor – Monegasque entrepreneur, CEO of Monte Carlo International Sports and owner of the APT Padel Tour

Craig Stanley – Investment Banker turned founder of utility scale renewable energy companies RE Capital and CEO of Atlanic Renewable Energy Partners

Hans Otterling – Partner of Northzone, the company that’s raised nine funds to date and has €1.5 billion under management. The portfolio includes companies like Spotfy, Avito, MarketInvoice, Klarna, and iZeWle with offices in London, New York, and Stockholm

Pierre Du Preez – Director of Sutton Place, an advisory firm responsible for part of the assets of the US-based Getty Family Office. He has been instrumental in establishing an Indian Real Estate Fund, and in backing Sesfikile Capital – one of the leading listed property asset managers in South Africa.

Rob Hersov – entrepreneur, senior executive and private investor. He serves as Chairman and CEO of Invest Africa, Chairman of African Capital Investments, Chairman of Alternative Capital, and deputy Chairman of VistaJet, and chairman of Aon Africa

Risto Silander – 20 years’ experience in the investment banking industry holding senior positions within Svenska Handelsbanken, Goldman Sachs, UBS and Alfred Berg. Risto was previously CEO of Alfred Berg and is currently a director on the boards of Stronghold Invest AB, Niam AB, Varenne AB, Brevan Howard Funds.

Thomas Johansson – General Director of APT Padel Tour (not to be confused with the ATP for tennis) and has over 20 years of experience as a former Swedish professional tennis player and tennis coach. He reached a career-high Association of Tennis Professionals world No. 7 singles ranking in 2002, when he also won the Australian Open.

You only need to pop into the Rotunda on any given day to feel the buzz: Rookies signing up for lessons, influencers wanting to be caught on camera at Cape Town’s latest hot spot, and groups of friends enjoying a game and a laugh together, followed by a drink at the newly built terrace café surrounding the court. Join the sports revolution.

For further press details:

Brooke Buckland PR

Bridget Pringle

Phone: +27 83 291 6190


Amy Mac Iver

Phone: +27 82 884 6233


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