It is a large white cube that now sits at the heart of the Dijon Tennis Club: inside two paddle courts, the sport was born in the 2000s and has seen a boom in recent years in France with 70,000 people. French Tennis Federation. A practice that until now did not exist in Dijon due to the lack of land.
“The idea of the project was born in 2018”emphasizes Thomas Brissot, its founder and manager. “Essentially, I played padel and realized that the region, and in particular the Dijon metropolitan area, lacked structures.” It took the tennis instructor four years and €500,000 to come full circle: “I presented the whole project to the leaders of the Tennis Club of Dijon, the president was immediately delighted, and then, in terms of funding, the participation of institutional partners, the city of Dijon, the county of Bourgogne-Franche, the federation, and in addition there is my participation as an investor and the tennis club Dijon. We are on a project of 500,000 euros excluding taxes.
Fully digital course
April 17, 2022: The site is open, so here is Thomas Brissot at the head of the park for padel, a fully connected site, it seems to be the first in France: “The principle is simple: we book our game online, we pay online, and behind that we have a scan code that is sent to our phone to access the building. After that, the connected screens will tell us whether our game is on the field on the left or the field on the right. There are many tools, screens, cameras, touch pads will allow us to form teams, we will have all the information in the statistics on mobile phones, and then the video from the tool can then be used to review the highlights of your match. Knowing that in a few days there will be a “paddle locker” where you can rent a racket, as well as a vending machine where you can buy snacks, drinks or just a box of balls.”
Rocket sport between tennis and squash
It remains to discover the sport itself: a smaller court, a foam racket, walls that can be used in the game, sums up Thomas Brissot: “He is affiliated with the French Tennis Federation, but they play differently there. The court is 20 by 10 meters, there is a net, like in tennis, but it is a mixture with squash, because, as you can see, there are glass walls, we will be able to use these walls to return the ball to the opponent’s camp. There is also a mesh part on the sides , it allows for a somewhat random bounce and can surprise the opponent. Scoring is like tennis, we’re game by game, and two sets of six games.“
It’s hard to estimate the number of followers in the Côte d’Or, but Tom Brissot doesn’t care about the success of his padel park. “We had a lot of inquiries through our social media pages and then we have the advantage of being very well located, with access to both trams, the ring road, there is a campus that is one or two kilometers away, so we we can attract a very large number of people.”
A relatively inexpensive practice if you have a racquet and balls: renting the court costs six euros per person per hour, nine euros at peak times. Racket rental will cost you three euros per hour.