Padel Magazine - Nallé Grinda, the former 1 number of the French paddle, comes back with wisdom on his career, his history and more generally on the development of the national padel ...

Padel Magazine - On the forum Padel Magazine, we learn that you no longer play padel, is this still the case?

Nallé Grinda - Indeed, I stopped playing padel in competition in 2010. I was coming out of an interesting Nice period but where the padel in competition had become a bit of a headache. A headache especially between individuals. I finally left France to go to the USA and more specifically to Miami. During 3 years, I did not hit any more rackets because the clubs were far and the level not fantastic. But lately, there is a huge emulation in Miami. The Padel is developing enormously with extraordinary people ... I took the padel again. And that's good!

When you went to Miami, you stopped playing ... You started in another sports area?

Yes, so I stopped or suspended the padel for a while and I focused on my job that pushed me to come to Miami: real estate. Since graduating from UCLA University in Los Angeles, real estate has always been my main source of revenue and I felt it was time to go to Miami where the subprime crisis was particularly violent. Today the market is healthy and I am pleased to have made this decision. Especially since I am now well settled and I have time again to devote to my passion: Padel.

Let's get back to your work related to the padel when you were in France, what happened? Why did the padel not take?

There would be many things to say ... Padel has not experienced the boom expected in France because of a lack of obvious means. Comparing with countries where it has grown faster, I think it is because sports clubs in France are mostly public and therefore subsidized by the state while in other countries they are often private. The difficulty of obtaining a public subsidy is often more difficult and longer than convincing private investors of the economic interest in building padels. The size of a tennis court makes it possible to install 3 Padel courts and thus to have 12 players paying per hour instead of 2 on the same surface. A private investor understands that an elected official tends to support a better known sport that will eventually bring him more votes! It is a bit pejorative but it is an example that summarizes the difference between sports infrastructure in France and other comparable countries such as England, Germany or even Spain.

Then The development of the French padel has encountered many problems. It lacked communication, people able to invest as your magazine does. And when some people invested themselves they were systematically pointed out as wanting to "appropriate" the Padel and to keep the whole cake. But if there is one thing I'm sure of, it's because today no one has ever won a cent with Padel in France! I myself have lost tens of thousands of Euros lost ... There are also conflicts of people who obviously do not help the development of the padel, mistakes were made also in some organizations. We can also mention the lack of support from Spanish locomotives who have repeatedly promised to invest in France without at the moment keeping their word. These are all reasons why the padel did not develop in France as it should have been.

Some believe that Jean-Noel Grinda, your father, (President of FF Padel) could have done much better than the work that has accomplished in the padel ... And others go even further ...

I am aware of all this. Some even say that he made money with the padel, others that he wanted to keep the padel for him ... All this is absurd.

He took over the Padel Federation because at the time there was no one who wanted to take it back! The federation was dying and riddled with debt because of the management of the old team. He did it because he loves this sport. He had no reason not to want to develop the padel. These words are stupid. Unfortunately he soon found himself confronted with the lack of means and very quickly made the approaches of rapprochement with the French Federation of Tennis. Today it seems that this wish will materialize and he will pass the hand with pleasure and collaborating as he should.

You were certainly aware that a new instance was created: The National League of Padel ... What do you think?

Yes indeed, I am aware that there is now a new instance of padel (National Padel League) led by a former FFP namely Cédric Carité. So, today we have two instances of padel. I do not think it's good for the readability of the national padel.

We can not deny that Cédric Carité is in the padel, he is a good paddle player, and even a good entrepreneur in the padel. But instead of creating another federation, which by default is a non-profit organization, he should have, in my opinion, put his time and energy into the development of a company that sells padel! We must not deceive ourselves, we all need to provide for ourselves and unless we are retired or safe from need, no one has time to develop an activity without pay. After that there were pitfalls with some people and stories that are no longer important today ... I prefer to look forward and I hope that soon with the FFT will resume the role of federation for Padel this serenity we all need will take hold. Everyone can find their place and contribute to the growth of this fantastic sport.

Let's talk about the future, what do you think about the latest news about the national padel? Could you come back to France and promote the padel?

First, I think that the integration of the padel in the FFT is an excellent thing. Now, I hope that the padel will not be considered a gadget and that it will actually be developed. But I am confident. The FFT is a very powerful federation with important means that neither the league nor the Padel Federation have. I think that in parallel with the development of the padel, there will be a multitude of our business related to this new growth. Whether in the field of construction, club management, player training or event organization, all those who are interested in the Padel can take part in its democratization in France ... As was the case in Spain, for example, where there are now more than 10.000 short and almost 2.000.000 players!

My personal future at the moment is in Miami, I play now on the American circuit which is booming, I have also won 2 tournaments in recent weeks, I also play a lot of exhibitions like the Sony Open tennis from Miami, last week in Houston with the Bryan brothers, or next week in Barcelona with most of the former Spanish tennis champions (Costa, Bruguera, Corretja, etc.). They love this sport very much and many of them consider a conversion in the padel after tennis as widely possible. On the court but also outside. Berasategui has just inaugurated its short 14 club! The Sanchez brothers have one of the largest Padel construction companies in the world. If all this happens in our Iberian neighbors there is no reason that it does not happen in France. I'm starting to hear rumors of involvement of players as iconic as Henri Leconte or more recently Nicolas Mahut ... All this is excellent and in my opinion the padel will develop, that's for sure. It's just a matter of time.

It is a sport so friendly, so complete that there is no reason in France, country of the racket, that the padel does not find its place.

Franck Binisti - Padel Magazine

Franck Binisti

Franck Binisti discovers the padel at the Pyramid Club in 2009 in the Paris region. Since then padel is part of his life. You often see him touring France by going to cover the big French paddle events.