Arnaud Di Pasquale, the former technical director of the FFT and now a consultant at Eurosport, talks about padel expansion in France. This paddle enthusiast, trains and even participates in padel competitions most often alongside his friend Arnaud Clément.
Can you describe your career, especially after your professional tennis career?
Former professional tennis player, I work for a year at IMG as a player agent before joining the FFT for 8 years. I am responsible for the male high level and then take the position of National Technical Director of 2013 at 2017. Since I am sports consultant for Eurosport, I am Eventeam ambassador with whom we develop projects around tennis. Finally I have personal projects in the finalization phase that deal with the qualities developed through sport and the possible transfers in the world of the company (intervention, workshops, seminar etc ...)
Are you professionally involved in the padel?
Not for the moment. I am in discussion with equipment manufacturers to see how we could collaborate for the development of the padel in France.
I did some P1000, 3 tournaments exactly with my friend Arnaud Clément. It allows a little light on this discipline in full swing.
Why did you start in this sport?
For several reasons: It is a very accessible sport. Essential to reach all audiences. This practice does not require having played a racket sport to have fun quickly. Very quickly you take pleasure and you progress, 2 essential concepts to retain and attract new practitioners.
Then playful and friendly sides: it is played 4 on a small perimeter which facilitates the exchanges. Finally it is a very strategic and physical game contrary to what one might think.
For you the nerve center of the padel, is the club?
It all depends on the reception of the club. The animation must be supervised by teachers or people in charge of reception. I only know the Casa club Padel in Saint Denis and the atmosphere is excellent, friendly and warm. Everyone knows each other. Very good French players come there to train.
The complicated side in the padel: You have to be 4. The cost. Few lands at the moment.
Padel is a sport more social than tennis?
I know what a social practice is but I do not think that this sport practice has become a social practice, we may see it in time. This sport remains for the moment practiced by too few people to draw conclusions.
The fact that the FFT has recovered the padel. This is a good thing ?
There is a delegation taken over by the FFT in 2014. Things have taken a long time to fall into place but things are finally starting to move seriously. To show that the FFT has taken hold of the development of padel, they launched a call for tenders to supervise and launch a big project: the FFT Padel Tour.
A kind of tour in big cities with matches, exhibitions, marketing places and hospitality packages etc ... Still will it find partners to support the costs (very important) of such a company. But the project is interesting and shows that the FFT now sees the padel as a lever for growth (a licensee padel = a licensee FFT)
How do you see padel development in the coming years?
Hard to say ; the economic model is not simple. The investment is very important and the profitability on the simple rental of the courts can be very long. Knowing that for the moment few tennis clubs have decided to integrate, even if it starts to move.
More tennis clubs will be built more it will increase the difficulty of private structures to get by financially.
Student in Master 2 entrepreneurship and innovation at IESEG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT in Paris and passionate about sport, I decided to devote my final thesis on the emergence of padel in France as a sport and social practice and associated market development. Having lived 22 years in Morocco and for 5 years in France, I am delighted to be able to share my skills.