Vincent Dolà © is one of the best-known referees in France, on the highest categories of tournaments on the French circuit. First present in Alsace, we increasingly see him leaving his region to cover other events, such as the P1500 in Jarville for example.

Recently, he has also taken care of French Championships over 45 years old to Esprit Padel Lyon. We came back with him on his journey as a referee!

His debut in the padel

I discovered the padel in 2012. when I worked in central Italy (towards San Benedetto del Tronto for purists), it was A real thunderbolt at a time when I was no longer too motivated by tennis.

Then, it was a short crossing of the desert before I found myself refereeing a P1000 of the legendary My Babolat Padel Tour in 2018, with the no less legendary Alexis Salles et Laurent Imbert, who really introduced me to the world of padel In France. I had the pleasure of meeting them again recently as a commentator on Padel Mag' and participant in the French Championship over 45 years old.

From there I started playing hard, until I waited the top 500 French in 2021, and referee (up to 7 tournaments per month).

His opinion on the rules padel

I must say that since 2018, the padel trully "mutated” and grows at the regulation level. The sport has adapted to the arrival of tennis players – I am one – on the “circuit” who are much more demanding of a framework for competitions.

Personally, there are always rules that I don't agree with when they come out, but over time I learn to appreciate them. For example, the "liberalization” of the P500, I was clearly not a fan. Six months later, I say bravo

Conversely, the regulation of rest times, I'm not a fan. Certainly there needs to be a safeguard, but I think that an intermediary is possible: from experience, I know that after a first match, teams often need less recovery time than after the second match for example .

I'm as delighted as François-Xavier Conninck joined the FFT in June as responsible for the competition and rankings. I am sure that we will be able to move faster on certain points.

The evolution of the regulations and the players

There has been a real change in the categories and in particular with the integration of tennis players, as I have already said. Players are more interested in the settlement point, to the number of points they will take.

But they are often more aware of the settlement points that benefit them than those that would not help them.

With obtaining JAP3, I also see that our all the best players take care of their match preparation : nutrition, warm-up before the match, stretching, etc. They have a requirement with the JAP on the P2000 and the P1500 which is in line with the one they impose on themselves: we, the referees, need to upgrade our skills. But this requires a fair return on things, particularly regarding expenses.

A difference between men and women

I see one that clearly appears in high-level French tournaments: women play all ranking matches in P2000 or P1500 because they enjoy competing against each other. Men are more into calculating points and are more easily tempted by a WO compared to winning a train or plane ticket.

Vincent Dolé and players 4Padel

I regularly discuss the subject with the FFT. There is no miracle solution. But there are real sources of reflection : should we sanction the wo; by fewer points? Are the P2000/P1500 the entry to the FIP circuit, where ranking matches do not exist? Should we generalize the ranking to equal high (like at the French Championships) or keep the ranking pulled down?

I know that many clubs are working to ensure that women's tournaments are fuller and more numerous. We still see in Strasbourg P25 Women with 24 teams while P500 have difficulty attracting 8 teams. However, it is the same for Men, with P500 starting to be canceled due to lack of participants.

The difference between tournament categories

I kind of deserted the tournaments from P25 to P500. But I am in regular contact with the League referees to help them ensure tournaments in the best conditions.

Without tongue in cheek, even if we have more pressure, investment and concentration on the French Championships, as soon as I am asked to help/manage a P25/P100/P250 category tournament, I get involved in the same way.

The main difference currently is in big tournaments: given the number of tracks, we must, as referees, manage supervisors. Human management is an aspect that I appreciate because it allows me to share this experience like a partner in the padel. This also relates to my job where I manage a team.

Any anecdotes?

I admit I was lucky to escape arguments. Even if at one time, I had good discussions with players in relation to unclarified settlement points.

As a JA, we often have specific requests to play on a certain field, or to move a schedule.

For the most exotic requests in the field, I have already been asked to advance matches because a player risked having to leave for his wife's birth or because one of the players' favorite football team had a match.

At a tournament, I had a player who called me on Friday once, back at the hotel, to find out if I hadn't found his shoes. padel at the club… Indeed, they were dropped off for me. On Saturday evening, another call from the same player to ask me if I hadn't found his jacket... luck for him, the jacket had also been brought back. On Sunday evening I received a new call... The club telling me that they had found a racket... I never knew if it belonged to the same player !

Off the field, I was recently asked in the middle of the night on Saturday evening to have the number of a player : I had more fun the next day than in the middle of the night. I also had to walk a player home at the end of a players' evening... but it wasn't for an injury.

His record as a JA

Since 2018, I can boast of having a few hundred tournaments under the clock.

I think I was one of the precursors (outside Occitanie) at the level of Padel. When I arrived in Alsace, there was 3 tournaments per year. In one year, with Alexis (4Padel) and Enzo (P&F), we took a leap forward with 5 tournaments per month. COVID was a hard blow but we were able to move forward.

With my private life (I notably proposed on Padel Mag'), I started training for JAP1 and JAP2 du Grand Est, which allows me to devote myself to big tournaments with less regular dates. I think the Grand Est league can be satisfied to have JAPs which adhere to the principles of the competition guide in France : it surprises both the players who visit us and the “Padel'Easter” which are exported to other regions.

On a personal level, obtaining the JAP3 allowed me to open up to new horizons: after the P2000 of Strasbourg in November 2023, I managed the P1500 Men of Jarville in April and I have just come out of the Championships of France from Padel +45 years: a real love at first sight in an incredible conviviality at Esprit Padel In Lyon.

I have just been appointed referee for the French Senior Pairs Championships in Strasbourg. in September. As I will become a father for the second time in November, I risk being off at the end of the year (unless I am requested on the P2000 of Casa Padel in October). But I will be back in 2025, and in great shape!

Gwenaelle Souyri

It was his brother who one day told him to accompany him on a track. padel, since then, Gwenaëlle has never left the court. Except when it comes to going to watch the broadcast of Padel Magazine, World Padel Tour… or Premier Padel…or the French Championships. In short, she is a fan of this sport.