Battle of the court: Tennis Federation ‘fails in Padel takeover bid’

An International Tennis Federation (ITF) bid to take over The International Padel Federation (IPF) has been rejected, the latter said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Today is a victory for the independence and integrity of sport; for our players, for padel fans; and for all the institutions across world sport who promote and protect the independence of other sports bodies,” said Luigi Carraro, President of the International Padel Federation.

“We thank the Professional Players Association for raising the voice of the players – who are the heartbeat of our beloved sport. We also thank all our national padel federations worldwide for defending the integrity of our sport,” added Carraro.

Usually played in doubles, padel is a mix between tennis and squash and has grown worldwide due to the game’s simplicity.

Several prominent actors have invested in the sports, including Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of Qatar Sports Investment, who is also keen on devising a new league.

Dubbed the Premier Padel tour, the news of the veto against the ITF is promising news for Al-Khelaifi.

“Premier Padel is an opportunity for everyone, for the players, the sport, the Federation, the media, to develop the sport around the world as it deserves. We don’t want anything to be closed, like Super League, it is an open competition for players, we don’t close the door to anyone,” Al-Khelaifi told reporters of Marca in June.

“We created it open together with Luigi Carraro,” Al-Khelaifi added.

A founding member of the Premier Padel, the Qatari Paris-Saint-German owner, has attended several Padel matches to get a closer look at the game since launching the Padel tour in March 2022.

Since its birth, the league has crossed several nations, including being hosted in Egypt for the very time.

Headlined as the NEWGIZA Premier Padel P1, the tournament took place in October after previous events in Madrid and Mendoza.

“Seven months after the launch, after having organised tournaments in some of the most prestigious places in the world, we finally arrive in Egypt, on the African continent,” Carraro said as he praised the league’s progress.

In Qatar, the sport of Padel has swung its way into the country’s most popular sports over recent years, with former tennis player Mohammed Saadoun Al Kuwari introducing the game into the country.

Al Kuwari participated in the sport in 2016 with his older brother, who later opened the first Padel club at Qatar Sports Club.

“We fell in love with the sport, even got addicted to it. The community’s reaction is amazing. It’s an easy sport to learn, and because there’s four players, it’s very social as well,” said Al Kuwari.

As a sports capital, Qatar has hosted several padel tournaments, from the World Padel Championship in 2021 to Qatar’s Olympic Committee’s (QOC) second edition of the Padel Tournament in 2020, which oversaw 304 players.

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