It is by meeting people from a country that you get to know your padel. We had the opportunity to get to know a German padel entrepreneur, Fran González, creator of Padel Analytics and national coach.
Padel Magazine : Padel in Germany existed since when?
Fran González: The first track was built in 2003 and remained the only one until 2010, the year of the creation of the German Padel Federation. It was then the big departure of padel in my country with then about 3 tracks per year, then in 2016-17, about 10 new clubs per year. Today there are 39 clubs with more than 60 tracks.
PM: What about players?
FG: There is no actual player license yet. We just have the list of players who participate in the different tournaments. Since 2002, there have been around 1 players who have participated in tournaments and a total of around 000 in leisure padel.
Players participating in tournaments can detach the “elite” players who are selected for the national team. What is interesting is that we have several selections for men, women, but also seniors. Seniors are present in droves in Germany because on the last team competitions, we registered 47 participants. Out of the 16 countries that participated, that puts us just behind Spain in number of players, it's encouraging!
Our current concerns are young people. We are trying to launch the thing, we have a few players, but it is difficult to unite them in a particular place to launch the competitions. We are working on it and I hope that very soon we will see young German teams on international events.
PM: We have heard in recent months that several countries have united the tennis federation with that of padel. Is this also the case in Germany?
FG: Not at all. At the moment we have 2 padel federations. We created the DPV (Deutscher Padel Verband) in 2010, which joins the FIP and the EPA, then there is another organization, created in 2011 which launches several circuits. Personally I do not think it is good to separate the forces, especially in a small country like ours. Some players join a federation, others to another, and players who join both are really in the minority. We have to move forward on this subject and that clubs and players do not have to worry about these “problems” of federation.
We would like to launch as a “Bundesliga” which would lead to a Champions League, as in footbal, clubs and players could move, meet enthusiasts of the same sport, and thus improve.
PM: How is it going with the national selections?
On the female side, we have players who have little experience on the circuit, who discover competition. It is difficult for them, but they are the pioneers of padel in Germany, and it is positive for future generations.
On the men's side, we have great teams that are capable of hanging sets from stronger pairs. We must be lucid, currently we are a nation B which plays its place in the second division, behind the A teams which are in Europe Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
PM: How is padel spread in Germany?
FG: I know people read Padel Magazine. Then a lot of things are done locally, through the press or social media. Then I am the creator of Padel Analytics, and German players are interested in this site which contains all their tournament statistics, results and others since 2012, year of creation. Each year, each tournament, each player, today the database begins to fill up. So let's say that Padel Analytics is used to promote padel, with the support of Padel Magazine.
PM: Speaking of tournaments, are there international tournaments competing in Germany?
FG: Yes, we are trying to create international tournaments, in particular via the FIP. The concern is that raised tournaments are expensive to organize. Then we had to cancel some tournaments for lack of participants. The problems we are currently facing are financial concerns because the players clearly do not have the means to finance travel for the various tournaments, the sponsors do not “yet” help this young sport in Germany. Another concern is the fear of players to register for international tournaments. Since foreign players come and have a good level, the Germans fear being swept in the first round, so they do not register.
Little by little we will get there.
PM: How do you see the future of padel in Germany?
FG: The world of professional padel is very small. Everyone knows each other. By coming to international events such as the European Championships, the World Championships, the players are eager and learn from the greats while removing their fears. They talk about it to their friends, family, club partners, and we see more requests from players to participate and be part of the selection.
This is positive, and I think that shortly, with the help of the seniors, then the adult players, we will get a young selection, and it is from there that the boom will be created in Germany.
PM: Thank you Fran
Julien Bondia is a padel teacher in Tenerife. He is the founder of AvantagePadel.net, a software very appreciated by clubs and padel players. Columnist and advisor, he helps you play better through his many padel tutorials.