For the oldest, we will have to change our software! Indeed, there was a time not so long ago when we found top French players in P500. And even in certain regions, like the ARA, IDF, PACA, or Nouvelle Aquitaine leagues, we found ourselves with P500s which looked like some of today's P1500s.

This is hardly a caricature: the more players there are, the lower the level will be. Look at Spain: the average level there is certainly the lowest in Europe, and yet it is the country where the elite level is most developed.

Boom of tournaments, drop in level

In France, for two years, we have observed a boom in the number of competitions and the number of competitors. As a result, there is necessarily a drop in the level in tournaments and a dilution of good players who are now distributed between several competitions.

In addition, from now on, many top French players no longer necessarily participate in the best French competitions because they focus more on the FIP Tour to win valuable international points. The P1000s of two or three years ago therefore obviously no longer really relate to those of today.

Although these events remain important in the eyes of the public, spectators for the club, but also for the media that we are, we were able to observe a triple effect: first of all, the fact that there are up to two P1000 (and even potentially three including overseas tournaments) at the same time compared to one or two per month a few years ago, inevitably had an impact on the level of these competitions.

Alexise Duchêne and Charlyne Tonda

There are many factors

Yes, today's P2000s are yesterday's P1000s. The P1500 are categories which are inserted between the P1000 and the elite circuit of the FFT. Likewise, today's P500s are already multiplying with the abandonment of prize money mandatory by the FFT. Despite a cut mandatory, we can clearly see that there will inevitably eventually be a drop in the level of this category, as was the case after the plummet in the level of the P250, equivalent today to the P100 of three years ago.

There are so many factors that explain this: the number of competitors which increases every month, the regulations which evolve, but also the fact that players no longer travel as much as before...

A positive change

One might believe that this drop in level is serious. But on the contrary, it is proof that the padel explodes with the boom in competitions and the number of players, the level inevitably drops. And the FFT rightly favors the leisure side of padel which occupies 99% of the padel French and which is the sinews of war for all clubs.

For the elite of padel French, the FFT already offers many competitions with the P2000, the recent implementation of the P1500, prize money which are no longer limited, but also the support of FIP tournaments on which it relies to develop from above the padel French, not to mention the P2 in Bordeaux and the unmissable Major at Roland-Garros which has a worldwide impact.

roland garros audience padel

So don't panic for the “oldies”, all the categories are evolving and it's ultimately not any worse!

Franck Binisti

Franck Binisti discovers the padel at the Club des Pyramides in 2009 in the Paris region. Since padel is part of his life. You often see him touring France going to cover the major events of padel French.