Fernando Belasteguin is one of the biggest names in padel, a tennis-type event which is Europe’s fastest growing sport. The 40-year-old, known as Bela, topped the world rankings for 16 straight years but has just faced one of his toughest challenges yet – a trick shot described as “practically impossible” by a biophysics professor. From the rooftop balcony of an eight-storey building, he had to hit the ball through the 70x50cm open sunroof of a 300 horsepower Cupra Ateca SUV parked on the street 120ft below.
He had to contend with the wind which added further difficulty when hitting the 56 gram ball.
Without hesitation, Bela took a few steps back for an unobstructed swing, tossed the ball in the air and whacked it with his racquet.
Incredibly, he pulled off the mind-blowing trick shot in Barcelona Harbour at the first attempt.
Bela hit the ball at a 10 degree incline – and it took just three seconds at a speed of more than 30mph to fall through the sunroof of the Cupra Ateca.
He said: “When I was approached me with the challenge I thought I wasn’t going to leave here until I made it.
“I had to hit the ball in a way I’ve never done before. I took the wind into consideration when calculating the trajectory of the ball and I got it right on the first try.
“Who would have said that after 30 years of playing padel I’d have to try a new swing to rise to the challenge put before me by Cupra?”
Enric lvarez, a biophysics professor from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, described his shot as “practically impossible”.
He said: “The stroke has to be delivered with great accuracy, as from this height there is little room for error, so he must aim for the correct angle and speed with which he hits the ball.
“What he has achieved was truly amazing for all the difficulties it entails. It involves outstanding bio-mechanical control.”
Bela became the youngest number one World Padel Tour player in history at the age of 22 and stayed in the top spot for a staggering 16 consecutive years.
The Cupra ambassador is the biggest name in a sport enjoyed by Liverpool football star Mo Salah and backed by tennis champs Rafael Nadal and Sir Andy Murray.
Cupra, which is Seat’s standalone performance brand, is the official international sponsor of the World Padel Tour.
The sport, which combines tennis and squash, was invented in the 1960s by a Mexican billionaire who didn’t have space for a full-size tennis court.
It is now the second biggest sport behind football in Spain and is growing in the UK with more than 3,000 now playing.