It was predictable: we thought that with the end of mandatory prize money in 2024, the level of P500 would collapse. The result is clear: the P500s are becoming the P250s of the era.

Daytime tournaments that are multiplying

With the boom in competitions and the crossing of the bar of 500 practitioners according to the FFT, including 60 active competitors, we have already observed for two years a decline in the general level of competitions. Excellent news actually, because it demonstrates the dynamism of clubs which offer numerous tournaments and players always ready to participate.

Short formats are multiplying: in fact, today, tournaments which take place over a day, or even an evening, are on the rise. Without giving precise figures, we note that the clubs appreciate these events. The advantage is that they allow players to participate more often and at a lower cost.

For an average price of 20 euros per competition, you can play at least twice, and sometimes more if you win. As a result, the hourly cost decreases for players.

More and more P500s

Regarding the P500, it is completely normal that, since the FFT removed the prize money obligation, this category has become more popular.

This is a situation that repeats itself. Let us remember that when the P250 prize money requirement was lifted, many P100s transformed into P250s. If the drop in level in P500 is for the moment less marked than that in P250 (with the ban on the top 500 in P250), it is an end to the hybrid pairs that we could see in these categories with a very good player and a beginner. Pairs that we now find in P500.

The good news is that it is now possible for players of lower levels to win a P250. And even for the P500, there may be openings, depending on the region. With the multiplication of events and the fact of playing a P500 over even shorter periods, the level tends to drop…

In a way, what is happening at the regional/national level in France also follows the international trend with a drop in levels in international tournaments due to the multiplication of FIP tournaments every week, FIP tournaments which allow playing in exotic locations and thus dilute the level of players of padel, offering everyone more chances of success in a test.

However, as is often the case, there are exceptions to this trend, with some regions being more competitive than others. It is important to emphasize that we are talking here about a general trend, and not an absolute truth applicable to all national or international tournaments.

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.