In all existing sports, the professional circuit is an important element in dissemination and appreciation with the general public. The padel does not escape it and the World Padel Tour is now well established in the world sports landscape. But how has it developed until it became the reference of this sport, which brings together more and more people around the globe. What are the threats and the lines of progression of this still young and perfectible circuit? Spirit Padel Shop offers you a small analysis of the international showcase of our favorite sport.
Birth and development
With the growing success of the Padel in the 2000s, the major sports authorities decided in 2005 to create the Pro Padel Tour and then see all the best professionals in the new discipline, at the time, compete. At the beginning, tournaments all take place on Spanish soil, where the padel becomes more and more important but the internationalization of the Padel is slow, a subject that we will approach later. In 2012, the PPT became WPT, the World Padel Tour and thanks to the progression of the popularity of the Padel in Spain, the circuit becomes more and more interesting and followed.
The model taken for the Padel circuit is that of its big brother, the ATP. By establishing 3 tournament categories and implementing a classification according to everyone's performance over the years, the WPT wishes to create, as in tennis, a race in the ranking and the Masters Finals, the most prestigious tournament between the 8 Best pairs of the year. The Masters, Open and Challenger categories are therefore created and report points and a cash prize which varies according to the reputation of the tournament.
World Padel Tour logo
WPT, an important asset for Padel brands.
Since 2005, many brands have been able to take advantage of the development of sport and the circuit to make a name for themselves in the world of the padel. At the start, only Padel specialized brands were present on the circuit. Bullpadel, Nox and Babolat are the first to sponsor players in the first 5 years of WPT. Then, more general brands enter the race with Head, Wilson then Adidas. Today, these brands are sponsoring the best players in the world and are well distributed in the professional circuit: each brand to its ambassadors. For these manufacturers, the bet is successful. WPT is now a showcase of this international sport and amateur players are increasingly clients of signature snowshoes, like their favorite padel players.
Juan LeBron, world number 1 and babolat muse accompanied by the Technical Viper
Other circuits emerge: the example of the APT and the threat of Qatar
To surf the Padel hype, the American Padel Tour is created in 2020. The principle? Highlight the American continent by establishing tournaments in many countries, so far shunned by WPT. For example, Chile and the United States have their own tournaments. If the level of the players is generally lower, this makes it a more accessible circuit where the level required to enter the tournaments is more permissive. In the classification, Many Argentines and Brazilians truse the top but unlike WPT, many Europeans (excluding Spain) are present, especially 4 French in the top 60. The APT is a very recent circuit and therefore still in the shadow of the big Brother WPT. But this competition could force the World Padel Tour to innovate and outdo itself to remain the best world circuit. The APT already has ideas of evolution, especially in terms of contract with players and expansion around the globe. This rivalry between these two circuits may well be an important departure for a good growth of the professional world.
Recently, a new threat to WPT was born: Qatar and Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Indeed, the current president of PSG and QSI (Qatar Sport Investment) at officially launched From this year 10 tournaments throughout the year around the globe in partnership with the International Padel Federation (FIP). Surely reassured by the good results of the latest Padel World in Doha last November, Nasser displays a clear goal: to create a circuit that brings together the best world players and replace WPT. Problem ? These players have an exclusivity clause with the WPT binding them until 2023 to the circuit. Negotiations between the major instances of the World Padel Tour and the Association of Players (APP) chaired by Alejandro Galan, the world number 1 is scheduled for this month to reduce the influence of WPT on players in order to be free to participate in any tournament. The outcome of these negotiations will necessarily change the face of the professional padel.
What areas of progression?
But then, to what to expect in terms of improvements for WPT in the future. Already, greater internationalization. A step forward has been taken in recent years with several tournaments outside Spain as in Belgium or Italy, but the circuit remains very Spanish with 100% of the masters that take place there. This lack of diversity is mainly due to the high level of requirement of the organizers who want the best for the public (spectator and viewers) as for the players. The infrastructures that welcome tournaments are of very high quality, some countries are struggling to offer this level because the padel is not yet developed enough to afford to spend so many resources in tournaments.
On the French side, the announcement of the French Padel Open has made great noise and content with many fans of sport in France. From June 13 to 19 at the Sports Palace André Brouat in Toulouse, the best players in the world will compete in front of 4,200 people for what will be the biggest event in Padel in France so far.
French Padel Open 2022 in Toulouse
To summarize, the professional world of the Padel is doing well thanks in particular to the World Padel Tour. A real shopping window of the Padel, the circuit lives its best hours at present with many iconic champions. A success that should not be spoiled in the future, with the ascent of other circuits like the APT or that of Qatar for example. Case to follow in the coming weeks and next months ...