Premier Padel & World Padel Tour merger: what does it mean for players, fans & the professional calendar?
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In 2024, the professional padel game will be united under one tour – the Premier Padel Tour.
Earlier this year it was announced that the owners of Premier Padel would be acquiring the rival World Padel Tour in one of the biggest shifts in the sport’s history.
The merger will see both tours unify under one professional circuit, governed by the International Padel Federation (FIP). This will also include the Cupra FIP Tour – where Britain’s top padel stars regularly compete – as feeder up to the Premier Padel Tour.
So, what does this mean for players, fans, and the event calendar?
Players can concentrate on one single tour
Starting with the players, having one tour should bring a host of benefits. Since the Premier Padel and World Padel Tours have co-existed side-by-side, players have had to choose which tour they want to play on and subsequently missed out on competing at some of the biggest padel events across the world.
With the calendar coming under one tour, this means that all players will compete in the same top tournaments and subsequently the playing fields will be much stronger.
One of the biggest changes will be the introduction of one single ranking system. In previous years, players have had a separate World Padel Tour and FIP ranking – influenced by which tour they choose to play on.
While the details on how this will be worked out are still yet to be confirmed, a single ranking system will make it much easier to enter events at the right level and narrow player’s focus on just one ranking.
We recently caught up with British padel star Louie Harris to get his thoughts on the impact of the merger for him and his fellow players.
“For myself and the players that I’ve spoken to, I think it’s good news,” Harris said. “It’s going to allow the sport to grow even more and at a faster rate.
“World Padel Tour has been the main tour for a while now, but I think Premier Padel has grown quickly, taking padel to new countries and bigger venues – like Roland Garros for example. Within a year or two years, what they have done is incredible and I think the merger is going to be positive for the sport moving forward.
“The ranking system is going to be huge. If you have two or even in some cases three different rankings you have to pick and choose what tournaments you play, you have to prioritise your ranking on specific tours and then your other rankings will drop.
“Being able to compare yourself to everyone under one ranking will be great and it just makes it more fair on the players. Mentally you don’t have to be as worried about different rankings, you can just focus on playing and getting better.”
Following the pros will be simpler for fans, with bigger events on the horizon
For fans, the merger means simplicity and the potential to take the events to the next level.
You’ll now be able to follow every player and event under one tour with more streamlined coverage, rather than being scattered across multiple channels. Performances all count towards the same end result – FIP ranking points and titles – and it should make it easier for new fans to understand the professional game, where they may have been put off in the past by complicated structures.
It will also open the sport up to bigger opportunities in the future. For example, as Louie mentioned, Premier Padel took the game to Roland Garros in 2023, the home of one of tennis’s four Grand Slam tournaments and we also saw the Australian Open branch out into padel earlier this year as well. Could we see more of these style events at the world’s largest venues in the future?
Premier Padel Tour calendar still to be announced
Finally, looking at the calendar, we’re yet to know what this will look like for 2024, with events and dates still to be confirmed.
However, what you can expect is a centralised calendar where the top events have their own specific slots in the year, where they may have clashed between the two tours in the past. The Cupra FIP Tour calendar will likely continue as it has been with a range of events for players competing at different levels on the international stage.
As of yet, there are no confirmed details of international padel events taking place in Great Britain next year.