Second and final part of the XXL interview carried out with Benjamin Tison, now high-level and sports manager at the management padel of the French Tennis Federation. After having talked in particular about his new life, the Ile-de-France resident details his new missions at the FFT, his areas of work and also discusses some current hot topics.

Its areas of work

“With the teams, we are starting to build the sports policy in collaboration with the leagues. We are currently taking a tour of the leagues to be fully aware of the problems in each territory. We have already made six league visits, I am not going to say more for the moment because I want to wait until I have seen everyone before being able to co-build a project.

What is certain is that in the work I have done outside the leagues, at the conventions, the emphasis has been on young people. Even friends of mine like Adrien Maigret, Jérôme Inzerillo or Max Moreau receive less help than in previous years because we want to give priority to the youngest with the creation of a hopeful group among the under 25s for men, and under 30 years among women. The objective is to have as many players as possible in the Top 100 in the next ten years.

We are also working on the opening of a National Training Center (CNE). I would like it to see the light of day in 2025.

Then there is everything related to sports politics. Today, we are talking about high level, but if there are no young people, if there are no training schools padel, if there is no mass, there is no high level.”

“Everyone must work for the good of padel"

“For me, the padel has developed a bit on its own because it’s an incredible sport. Thanks to private structures in France, it has experienced linear progression, certainly less strong than in Italy or Sweden, but still good progress.

Today, everyone wants to oppose associative clubs and the private sector but for me we must be together, working hand in hand. Everyone must work for the good of padel, and within my team we all think this way. Thanks to this, I think we will succeed in proposing things and ensuring that the padel kind of grown up from the decisions we are going to make.

We are going to be wrong, we are going to make mistakes, we cannot reach unanimity, there are plenty of rules that we can discuss each time, we can ask ourselves questions, think. The goal now is to carry out real surveys, and not to listen, quote unquote, to the last person who complained.”

Stephanie Cohen-Aloro : “A management specialist”

Stéphanie Cohen Aloro Director Padel FFT

“Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro is a management specialist, she surrounds herself with experts in padel, she is there to manage the teams and to validate decisions with governance. Today, some say she doesn't know the padel, but I don't know anyone who knows the padel around me who could be in his place. She has a very specific position, she manages the group, and I don't think you need to have played padel to be able to do that. Today no one who played very well padel also did great studies. It’s a very complicated position, and I think she has the profile for it.”

Soon a CNE padel in France ?

“Currently, the players of the French team padel have access to the CNE tennis. They do not have a dedicated coach but can access the CNE gym.

What I would like is for us to eventually have a CNE padel, which is not necessarily on the same site. This tool is essential since our best players are leaving for Spain, even if there is expertise in France, we see that a lot of things are being put in place with JT Peyrou in Bordeaux, Yannick Maurel in Palavas, Johan Bergeron also in All In Lyon even if he returns to the circuit. We also have a Jérémy Scatena who could have a role to play. But I really have the idea that in a few years, we will no longer have to cross the border to develop as a football player. padel. This would be a big step for France.

I hope that in the near future we will be able to compete. We obviously have to seek out Spanish expertise, it is also important to train our teams, but we must not believe that everything is incredible in Spain, there are also bad coaches there.”

The debate regarding the N1

“What bothers me is, for example, when people say that Spaniards should be banned from participating in the competition. It's impossible because of the Bosman ruling; people should find out a little before saying anything.

There are some very good proposals, such as someone who proposed only allowing access to the competition to those who had participated in three tournaments in France the year before. The problem in this case is that an Alix Collombon, who played two tournaments in 2023, would not have been able to make the Interclubs... We can also think of the Players from the training sector (JIFF), like in tennis, but today padel, there are almost none. You must always think carefully about all the problems that a solution may cause.

I am in favor of there being Spaniards, I find that it raises the level. I don't think that today, they take the place of many people. There will also be things that will be put in place, the creation of an N2 in particular. I think it was too early this year to set limits. What tennis has done in fifty years, we are not going to do in three!”

The Spanish in France: a good thing

“Next year I think, this is my personal opinion, that there will be changes in the number of transfers so that there is a greater feeling of belonging to the club, whether for the French or foreigners, perhaps also a rule concerning the number of tournaments to be played in France before.

But for me, the Spanish are not a problem, on the contrary they are a huge opportunity. And for those who say that it's not interesting or that it doesn't thrill them, I encourage them to go and see the attitude these Spaniards had on the field. Whether it was Teo Zapata, Mario Ortega, Aitor Garcia… They all gave everything from the first to the last point, and I can tell you that they are not paid €50 per match either!

Home Padel N1 Semmler Zapata 2024

If I were the director of a club, I would like there to be one or two Spaniards who could share their experience with French players. But that's my view of things, we have the right to think differently.

For me, this first edition with so many foreigners was a very good thing. Of course, there are adjustments to be made, rules to be put in place, but Stéphane Berrafato and his teams are working on it. Even if it concerns me a little less, I am consulted and I find it great. I love debating, exchanging, what I don't like is when people are stubborn. THE padel evolves so quickly that you have to be quite flexible.”

Training padel

“Today, at the level of French law, and it has nothing to do with the FFT, a tennis coach has the right to teach padel. Some complain that the DFMP training is only 40 hours long, but it can't be 80 hours or no one would want to do it. The goal is to inspire people, even if it's a small base, it's always better than nothing.

The DFMP and the TFP were put in place at a time when it was necessary to provide a framework, the industry needed to get started. This can and will be improved but there needed to be a starting point. With my teams, we have some thinking to do but we already have ideas on that.”

Schools of padel

“We want to try to encourage the creation of schools of padel. Today, there are very few schools padel for young people in France. For what ? Because a private sector that is doing well, that rents out its tracks, why would it train young people when it is not going to bring in any money? It's up to us to find levers, to perhaps build a different model and what is essential is to think a little off the beaten track in tennis and look at what is being done elsewhere. There are things that are doable and others that are not.

For example, we can't really take an example from Sweden, which is a country with a completely different culture. A very simple example is that during Covid, the Swedes stayed at home of their own accord, we, despite the bans, did everything we could to escape. I think we can draw a little inspiration from Italy, even if they have more private clubs and fewer associative clubs, because like us they have a federation which plays tennis and padel.

The key is that there are clubs padel everywhere in France, there are still deficient areas. We are also trying to see what the FFT could do to further boost this growth in the number of tracks.”

Xan is a fan of padel. But also rugby! And his posts are just as punchy. Physical trainer of several padel, he unearths atypical posts or deals with topical subjects. It also gives you some tips to develop your physique for the padel. Clearly, he imposes his offensive style as on the field of padel !