Alain Idier, president of the Saint-Cyrien Club, shares his journey within the club and explains how it has benefited from the growth of the padel, without sacrificing tennis. He also reveals the next projects for the club, including the integration of pickleball.

From one to six tracks padel !

My story with the Saint-Cyrien club began in 2000. The club organized its first sessions of padel, with some players still active today. I wasn't yet a member at that time. The only short of padel had a hard floor and was simply surrounded by railings. Saint-Cyrien was a bit of a pioneer because it was one of the first clubs to have a track padel. At the start we only had 5 to 6 young players, including Olivier Frandjian and Thomas Paoli.

I joined the committee about five years ago, starting with the development work. We acquired a second track shortly after, and our adventure padel has gained momentum. With the growing enthusiasm, we quickly added four more tracks to have a total of six in a very short time.

There was a critical moment when we almost lost the club. The town hall had lost confidence in the former presidency and was considering a clean slate. Faced with this situation, we decided to meet with municipal officials to propose our candidacy for president. This is how in March 2023 I became president.

Like Bernard Tapie

I wanted long-time members of the club to join me in this adventure. This is why I agreed to be president of the club on condition of being supported by Benoît Chareyre, Thomas Paoli and Yannick Gueguen, who together have more than forty years of club experience. With their support, and the time to dedicate, I was ready to take the reins of the club.

For the record, when I arrived as president of the club, the women's tennis team was playing to reach the higher division. Being passionate, I followed their journey carefully. Shortly after, and for the first time, they reached the national level. As I said jokingly, during a previous discussion, it was “a bit like when Bernard Tapie took the reins of OM and they became champions”!

Pickleball is coming

Currently our team is made up of nine people, six of whom are long-standing members of the club. Our sponsors offered us the financial support necessary to follow our women's team in international competitions and launch projects. Among these projects, we introduced three new mini tennis courts and we began to integrate pickleball, since the surface area allows for both sports. Pickleball is still new to us, I don't know what it's going to be like.

This sport captured our attention following a conversation I had two years ago with Cyril Saulnier. He explained to me that if the padel was not yet very popular in the United States, pickleball was very successful there. We talked with our tennis teachers and decided to try this sport. We then installed three fixed pickleball courts. It's quite funny because we received requests for information even before the grounds were inaugurated.

We are considering diversifying our offerings even further, because we have a room currently unused and we would like to transform it into a gym. The objective is to create an environment where our young people can engage in various sporting activities, whether padel, tennis, pickleball, or mini-tennis for children.

A strong dynamic

This year, we recorded 830 new registrations. This dynamic pushes me to consider the addition of two new tracks of padel to anticipate strong demand at the start of the next school year. Without these two additional tracks, I don't know if we won't be forced to limit registrations because I don't want to sacrifice tennis.

I am certain that the padel will continue to evolve in the years to come, this is a belief that I have maintained since 2017. I have daughters who play tennis at the national level, and my only worry is that they could gradually abandon tennis in favor of padel.

Dorian Massy

New follower of padel, I am fascinated by this dynamic sport which combines strategy and agility. I find in the padel a new passion to explore and share with you on Padel Magazine.