One step for Padel at Roland Garros

The dates are unusual and the decorations are unique. More than a month after Rafael Nadal’s 14th coronation in early July, the courts and bleachers of Roland Garos Stadium are booming. In the shadows, the Porte d’Auteuil site transforms and soon you can hear the little felt balls resonating again, but by respecting that of Padel, we do not believe.

A 20m x 10m synthetic truck was built on the clay of the immutable courts of Nos. 2 to 6, with nets crossing and surrounded by large windows and grids. The Philippe-Chatrier floor is no exception and has been repainted in Padel colours. Roland-Garros will host the Paris Premier Padel Major from July 11th to 17th. This is considered the best tournament category on the circuit, the “Grand Slam”, This magnificent discipline.

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Born in Acapulco (Mexico) in 1969, this hybrid racket sport is inspired not only by tennis but also by squash and is unique in that it can only be practiced in doubles. Padel, which was rapidly adopted in Latin America, landed in Europe at the same time. The first court was born in Marbella, Costa del Sol (Spain), where the popularity of this field is growing rapidly. Love at first sight is like having more than 4 million practitioners in the country today.mania From his brother’s tennis.

“The real turning point”?

In France, Padel interfered with the field of racket sports in the early 2010s, supported by tennis players tired of traditional yellow balls and sportsmen and celebrities of all kinds, from Zinedine Zidane to Cyril Hanuna. In 2014, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) absorbed that of Padel, a decisive step in the development of Padel. According to Ministry of Sports and FFT statistics, this area has the highest number of practitioners since 2020. With 300,000 paddlers in France, amateur branches are slowly becoming established, but professional branches are still struggling to stand out.

Alejandro Galán, Juan Lebron, and even Fernando Verastegin: In the Hispanic world, there are as many sacred Padel players as unknown names in the land of France. In Paris Major, where 56 teams fight each other, these headliners are tracked by an insider audience. Starming process. The slowness is felt by the Tricolor flagship. “We will benefit from emphasizing the best French players. Benjamin Tison supports 69e Padel player in the world and number one in France. It will help the French professional Padel and allow the youngest person to identify himself. »»

The native of Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), who was expelled to Barcelona from 2018 to train with the elite, is certainly personal, but with a particularly national ambition to approach Roland Garros: “Someone told me a year ago [court] Chatelier, you can’t believe it, Admit a 33 year old Padel player. But looking at the current Padel explosions in France and Europe, I think it’s more than just a fashionable sport. This tournament can be a real turning point. »» It has not yet been decided for whom it will be decided.

Nasser Al-Kelaifi shakes the circuit

In constant evolution, Padel’s world and its specialized circuits can confuse the less knowledgeable. Two different tournaments, the World Padel Tour (WPT) and the American Padel Tour (APT), have already taken place, and this year the third giant, the Premier Padel Tour, is coming, further blurring the grid. Directly funded by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), a subsidiary headed by Paris Saint-Germain Chairman Nasser Al-Kelaifi, with the support of the Professional Padel Players Association, and Premier Padel reshuffles the card. It came to be.

First, we offer higher rewards during the tournament. For example, the overall prize pool for the Paris Premier Padel Major is € 525,000. That is, almost five times as much as a major World Padel Tournament and about four times as much as a major event. APT Padel Tour. In addition to this, there are less restrictive contracts and increased exposure to the media.

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“Nacelle wanted to move the line, French Arnaud di Pasquale, 39 years olde In the world of tennis, he has been in charge of Padel missions at the FFT since 2021. He told himself that it was impossible to leave Padel in this place. »» In such a temptation operation, it is difficult to conquer a padel player on a slope as high as a stand, and only the World Padel Tour, whose contract with the player ends in 2023, is disappointing.

It’s the only black spot so far, at least not in the tournaments hosted by Premier Padel. “When I see a boy playing, not a girl, I feel like crying. Fulminate AlixCollombon, 23e World player and number one in France. However, Premier Padel and Nacelle want a women’s table. Simply put, the woman hasn’t signed this new circuit yet, but the boy has decided to oppose the first contract with the WPT. »» The situation to be resolved for the next edition.

Olympics and desire for liberation

From QSI to FFT, important extrinsic players sniff the right vein and build padels. “The Ministry of Sports proposed to the FFT in 2014 to restore the delegation and accepted it. Follow Arnaud di Pasquale. The impetus is given by tennis, but today there is no cannibalism. »» Conflicting positions condemned by specific actors in the field, including the manager of the huge Padel Center in Ile de France: “I don’t think my brother in tennis will last that long. He says on condition of anonymity. The FFT has helped us, but it may limit us in the future. We know our sport and its potential. We have to regain control. »»

A position softened by the French figurehead, recognizing the work done by the federation: “Padel is funded and developed by the FFT, and in return we get a tennis license and lose our tennis license. [à titre individuel] : It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. “, Defend Benjamin Tyson. “The problem was that there was a tennis teacher who didn’t know how to teach Padel. We listened and in September a national diploma was launched to improve this. The Federation is very powerful and I have a lot of money and it only helps. “, Emphasize Alix Collombon.

For everyone, Roland-Garros is an important stage, a mandatory passage on the tennis stage, and paradoxically, it’s like freeing yourself from tennis. But the real ambition is international, more precisely the Olympics. “2028 [aux Jeux de Los Angeles]Seems correct to me, Lament Benjamin Tyson. But I have such an explosion in so many countries [on dénombre 25 millions de pratiquants dans le monde], Sports will soon be the Olympics, perhaps who knows in 2032? »» In the country of sliding in Brisbane Games (Australia), Padel continued his infamous surfing and eventually emerged from the misleading homonym Stand Up Paddle.

Padel’s rules and peculiarities

rule: Padel is played exclusively in doubles on a 10m x 20m rectangular court surrounded by grids and windows and divided by a net in the center. Counting points is the same as for tennis. It takes 6 games to win a set and 2 sets to win a game. The service is tried twice with a spoon and if the ball has only one right to rebound on the ground during the exchange, it can hit the ball after rebounding on the other surface.

Water surface: Commonly used surfaces in competition are polished or semi-polished, green, blue, or ocher artificial turf.

material : Padel rackets are smaller than tennis rackets, have no strings, and weigh about 370 grams. The ball is almost the same as that used for tennis (low pressure) and has a uniform color of yellow.