Dear Padel Family,
Every day, all of us who love the sport and Padel look to the future to make it better, to spread it, to plant the seed of passion where our discipline has just arrived, so as to replicate its success in dozens of countries. Looking ahead always, then, with the goal of spreading our sport and taking it higher and higher, just as we have done in these past years of work and passion. There is, however, a time when looking back is right and proper, a time when we all join in a loving embrace to say goodbye to 2022, the ending year, welcoming the year to come.
Dear friends, I know that I am correctly interpreting the thoughts of each of you by dwelling on the extraordinary success of our sport in terms of socialization, inclusion, confrontation between peoples and cultures, and the joy that it brings when we all stay together in the name of sports practice, whatever it is. Padel is above all this: friendship, culture of sport, fun, and healthy competitiveness in a picture of a thousand colors and a thousand flags. This is precisely why I want to rewind the tape of 2022 with you, reading its every success, every moment of growth, and every qualitative improvement not only from a strictly sporting point of view but also through the lens of social and cultural responsibility. How can we forget, for example, that the Cupra FIP Tour has traveled in more than 30 countries? It has been – as written in a famous novel by Jules Verne – a world tour in 125 tournaments, with thousands of athletes from dozens of different countries. A game of technical, sporting, social and cultural ‘contaminations’ that helped to hold the passion engine at full speed.
The year 2022 was a year of great challenges, even revolutionary, during which we had to play in defense, then go to the net and close the point. This is what happened with the attempt to incorporate Padel into the International Tennis Federation. It was an attempt averted by the ITF members themselves. And today, as we salute this victory of independence, we paradoxically thank those who thought of Padel as a kind of “satellite sport” or a subject in a certainly larger realm. Thanks to the ITF members, it has been certified to the world, definitively, what the current dimension of our sport is.
I want to highlight the success of Padel at the South American Odesur Games in Paraguay. I think of Premier Padel, the newly born circuit that showed the most beautiful and exciting side of ‘Padel’ at the highest level. I think of the expression on the faces of the players, for a few moments taken back to childhood in a playground, as they took the court at Doha, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Mendoza, Giza, Monterrey, and Milan.
Premier Padel represents a fundamental pillar in the architecture of the world Padel because it is the first-ever professional level circuit run by the International Padel Federation. So were the Dubai World Championships, which involved 40 countries putting together the absolute level of prize money and trophies for the winners. The great success in Dubai convinced us even more that team contests can represent an extraordinary page of our sport and our future.
I want to thank the presidents, managers, coaches, and staff of every single National Federation that is part of the FIP family. I want to do so with the same energy with which each of you has stood by and experienced the challenges and the wonderful adventures of our sport in 2022. Thank you, truly, to all of you.
Finally, let me recall a few ‘snapshots’ from 2022. One in particular: the children’s celebration on the sidelines and hunting for autographs with yellow balls, caps, jerseys, and permanent markers. In their dreamy eyes and in their hope of getting an autograph from the great players the future of our sport is enshrined.
If 2022 was the year of great winning challenges, we should consider 2023 as a kind of ‘twin’, from the point of view of great events and great goals, achievements, and confirmations. In the long and certainly not easy chase to the five circles – and that is to reach the goal of officially becoming an Olympic sport – the debut of Padel at the upcoming European Games in Krakow, where athletes and female athletes will also perform in the ‘mixed’, represents a historic step. It testifies to a clear and unchangeable philosophy of the Federation in considering one planet for both boys and girls. And by the way, I want to thank all the players, one by one: in 2022 they have made Padel what it is now. Let’s never forget: the players are the main actors. Our job is to enhance their talent by building a world in which they can express their talent to the fullest, with joy and satisfaction. I want to thank the PPA and IPPA by reminding them how they are playing a central role in every plan of ours and how every thought about new initiatives starts from the ‘sacred’ consideration of both associations. The Federation considers you as a fundamental part of a democratic body in which weights and dignities are equally distributed. We demonstrated this in 2022, we will do so again in the year to come.
Many countries that join the Federation are setting up Padel schools to raise new generations of players. I would like to emphasize how, from this point of view, what I like to call the ‘green talent’ contests, the talent of the youngest, will be vital, as will be the World Juniors, Regionals, and Absolute Championships. The coming year will also be the year of further growth through new methods to communicate our sports movement, with the goal of shortening any geographical distances, and increasing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and planning, not only within our world. We aim at creating new opportunities to meet beyond the competitive activity so that we can fuel passion and desire to improve our sport. We want to do this with an official Federation Gala. A Gala that fully represents the philosophy that animates the work of each of us, in the name of one world – the Padel one – and one racket, equal for all.
I wish you all the best and a happy new year 2023.