Manuel Vives explains the difficulties of football players padel who are not among the best in the world, also looks back on his start to the season and shares with us his vision on the evolution of the padel.

A new adventure in Madrid

“I moved to Madrid this year, I joined Dylan Guichard and Thomas Leygue at the CEPAC academy of Mati Diaz and Gaston Malacalza, two legends of padel. I started in February after doing a little physical preparation in Paris. The reason for this change is that the “Daltons roommate” disbanded at the end of last year because everyone was going their own direction.

At Barcelona, ​​I was an absolute fan of coach Pablo Ayma, who is our coach, but the team training sessions were not always great and he was not very available. I wanted to continue in Spain while remaining in a shared accommodation. Julien had left with his girlfriend, Philémon was undecided, and Dylan was going to Madrid. As I get along very well with him and I knew that their academy was very nice, I decided to make this change.”

Manuel Vives and Julien Seurin

Shoulder problems...

So I find myself in Madrid and for the moment, I have not obtained the results I wanted. At the very beginning of the year I played in Australia, but the season hadn't really started, it was a bit special. But Julien Seurin and I won two tournaments, which was very good.

Afterwards, I participated in two tournaments Premier Padel with Jérémy Scatena and then, I played two FIP tournaments with Jérôme Inzerillo which went very badly: we lost twice against Thomas Vanbauce and Maxime Joris, who are playing very well at the moment.

I had a relapse of my shoulder problem before these two tournaments: my shoulder dislocated several times and I dislocated it again just before. From there, I started to feel a certain apprehension, a fear, I had two defeats and I've been extremely bad at training for a month, I'm trying to change a lot of things. I took a mental trainer, I train hard, as always, and I have confidence that the situation will improve, because these are always periods. I have experience with these situations and I know that after the rain comes the good weather.”

Gain 50 places at international level

“It's quite difficult to set goals at international level because the ranking is quite special and poorly designed. I started the year in let's say 170th place, and my goal was to finish around 120th. When you say that, you say to yourself: 'He's only looking to gain 50 places, that's not incredible.' But 120th has more than double my points, so that's already a big goal. In reality, the goal is to be able, at the end of the year, to participate in Premier Padel with someone who has as many points as me, without having to ask someone who has more. But that would equate to being around 120th/130th in the world.”

Manuel Vives

Areas for improvement

“In terms of play, I need to be more structured. That's always been my problem because I play a lot on instinct, a bit like a tennis player. I am a left-footed player who is 1m75 tall, which is considered small for this position. You have to be, I find, extremely structured to succeed in establishing yourself as a left-wing player, to be very regular, and to really know what you have to do. It's absolutely the opposite of what I did originally. It also explains the somewhat complicated period and all these changes.”

A new racket to continue improving

“I changed rackets a month ago, going from the Python 11 to the Python 12 Silver. The 11 suited me very well, but the 12 Silver is even harder and more rigid, which I particularly appreciate in a racquet, especially coming from tennis.

It retains all the advantages of the 11, that is to say it is a very easy to handle round racket. On defense, we can almost do what we want. Its rigidity facilitates impact on the ball, whether on attack, on volleys or on smashes, while maintaining this feeling of control. I think it's a good compromise. Even though it’s supposed to be a more defensive racket, its stiffness allows you to attack well as well.”

Difficult to get by financially

“It’s extremely difficult to get by financially, everyone knows that. In France, there are only five or six of us who manage to be more or less balanced. I'm not completely there, but I'm not far away. I think I cover three quarters of my expenses. A season can cost between €40 and €000.

I think I manage to cover three quarters thanks to my sponsors. I am also extremely lucky to have parents who can help me a little. Between the help of my parents and my savings, I can cover this famous last quarter. Afterwards, the fact of playing badly or well, financially, it doesn't change much because it's not like tennis where, if you play badly, you earn less money. In my case, playing well will only earn me 1000 or 2000 euros more in the year, which is ridiculous. Prize money occupies a derisory place, around 90% to 95% of the money comes from sponsorship.

On the other hand, there is an obvious mental impact: playing badly is costly for the season, and even if you have the help of your parents, it adds a lot of mental pressure and raises a lot of questions.”

Strategies for attracting sponsors

“To get through it, you either have to be very strong and make a name for yourself, or the best way is social networks. Winning a lot of tournaments gives you notoriety, which helps attract sponsors, but it is also possible to make yourself more known thanks to YouTube, TikTok, Instagram… It is necessary to post regularly, but it helps greatly to gain subscribers.

In terms of income, I don't earn anything directly from my YouTube channel, but thanks to this channel I probably got sponsors who brought me much more than I would have had without it. I can't put a precise number on it, but it certainly helps me a lot. If you have great visibility on the networks, sponsors will be tempted to invest in you. Earning money, being among the best and attracting sponsors is very difficult and reserved for a very small elite. Developing your social networks is difficult, but it remains more affordable.”

Manuel Vives

His vision of padel In the coming years

“I think overall we all agree that it's an incredible growth and it continues to grow. The circuit Premier Padel is very good and will continue to establish itself in this way, with more and more professional tournaments.

On a national level, I think we are on the right track as well. Not being completely involved, I cannot know everything, but it seems to me that the actions of the French Federation are starting to bear fruit. The addition of Benjamin Tison as high level and sport manager is a huge asset. Having someone who has played on the tour, who is among the best and who is truly passionate about the development of the padel, this is a great advantage. I think this will help greatly, especially at the youth and training level, perhaps even to establish a national training center. This will certainly accelerate the evolution of padel and help to better structure all of this at the national level.”

The points he would like to see evolve

“I wish we didn't have to go to Spain to improve and be able to play on the circuit. We are all forced to do it, with a few exceptions, like JT Peyrou's academy at the Big Padel which still bears fruit well. We see that JT has managed to train players who are perfectly competitive at international level, but otherwise it is very difficult.

There are also the two young people, Yoan Boronad and Timéo Fonteny, who have remarkable performances, for their age and all that while training only in France, but these are exceptions and we need many more competent coaches and training camps. Concerning competent coaches, this is not a criticism of the French, it is just normal that the Spaniards, who got started much earlier, are still one step ahead…”

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.