Marie-Amélie Dardaine: “Leave everything to become a professor”

22-year-old Marie-Amélie Dardaine, the 18th French padel player (best ranking 17) and former -4/6 in tennis, is quite reserved. However, it is the Top 20 players who have played in the most tournaments this year (27)!

So today the left-hander starts 100% padel. He tells us about his beginnings, doubts, successes and ambitions.

Almost without transition from tennis to padel

I started playing tennis when I was 8 years old and played until I was 20 years old. I participated in the 12/13 age category at Pôle France de Boulouris near Saint-Raphaël in the south of France. I was one of the best French players in my category.

Although I tried padel a little in 2020, I was fully engaged in tennis until the first arrest. My brother and I bought ourselves a machete and participated in the tournament. I liked it, but I continued to play tennis. Then I would say that Covid disrupted my dynamism and evolution in tennis. Maybe my motivation was low.

We can say that I entered padel seriously in 2021. And in just two years I managed to get into the top 20 of France. So I’m in a very good dynamic at the moment, especially since I recently beat the French team for the first time. This motivates us to continue in this direction.

COVID was the trigger

In May 2020, I resumed tennis after Covid, but felt a loss of motivation. I was looking for a new challenge and padel was the obvious one. I started playing a lot, mostly in tournaments.

It’s true that I’m more of a competitor and I focused my padel start directly on competition. I am lucky to have access to many padel events in my area. They are often P100 or P250 and were perfect to start and get going.

Air game, help me volley

I have a weather game. I have always had a good serve in tennis and a good volley. I believe that these assets increase tenfold in padel. This aggressive game, we really can not find it in padel. And that allows me to thrive for the moment.

We are not going to cover up. Unfortunately, there are currently only a few competitive players in padel, or at least not enough. More would be nice.

But all of a sudden, when you play a little bit and you have a tennis hand, I think you can go up in the rankings very quickly. Moreover, there are many examples.

Marie-Amelie Dardaine

Our 1er P1000 with Louise Bahurel

It was only our second tournament with Louise and we managed to win our first P1000 together, so it was a bit of a surprise that we were up against two players from the French team who were favorites on paper.

They were given 6/1 in the first set. I thought maybe they would wake up. But above all, I said to myself: “Maybe: we can defeat them!”

Louise believed it from the beginning. He told me before the match that we have it. But secretly I had a little trouble believing it. In the beginning, I was more cautious because I told myself that the step is still a bit high for the moment.

Ultimately, the goal is to be at that level and even try to go further. We know there are two French players at the top among the girls, Lea Godallier and Alix Collombon. On the other hand, at the back, there is more to play and this victory in this P1000 allows us to hope for a place in the French team.

Triggered by the experience of Team France

Something clicked when Robin Haziza, captain of the French women’s team, challenged me to this experience. That was the trigger.

I took the optional course in October last year and Robin told me that if I wanted to go further I had to get things right. So I quit my job last November. I helped a person in a structure responsible for the sector. I stopped everything to dedicate myself fully to padel. I am 100% padel today.

I’m not going to hide it, it’s clear that my goal today is to try to get a place in this French team in 2023.

My official partner this year is Tiffany Phaysouphanh. We have to do most of the big tournaments together, but when she can’t because of work, I can play with other players, like with Louise.

Marie-Amelie Dardaine

They encouraged me to start

L am 22. They told me to go, you have good skills and there is still little competition among the ladies.

I practice in Barcelona, ​​Spain, at the Bandol Tennis Padel Club, which, by the way, will soon have padel tracks from 4 to 7.

In addition, the club has established a padel academy at Nesil Bir Academy, with coaches Aurelien Grandmont and Alexander Rusovan. We have several players to train there including Laura Clergue, Marianne Vandaele and Adeline Nadal.

Leftists wanted…

There are few left-handers in France except Marie Lefebvre, and we know how much left-handers are in demand. I have an attacking profile and my obvious strengths are volleys and my build.

In addition, the priority right now is to work on defense, especially with the side window. My physique could help me defensively, I think I still have a good margin for improvement.

We are also working on my service. This is a large construction site. It sounds simple, but with a good serve you can win points or at least start a good point from the first ball.

Marie-Amelie Dardaine

Fear of judgment from others

When I started padel, I was a little afraid of the judgment of others. I was afraid that people would think I was wasting my time and judge me. At the beginning, I was afraid that people might think I was a bit ambitious because I wanted to throw myself fully into padel and I had hopes of becoming one of the best players.

Now, after various successes and considering my rapid development, I feel more legitimate.

I feel more comfortable when I see footballers going to Spain because I’m not the only one going on an adventure.

Despite the doubts of some, I threw myself 100% into padel and I think I’m on the right track today. I want to be a professional. In terms of help, sponsorship, partnership, we are not yet the same as in tennis, but I am listening to all the opportunities that may arise from those who believe in my project.

Frank Binisti

Frank Binisti discovered padel in 2009 at the Club des Pyramides in Paris. Since then, padel has been a part of his life. You can often find him traveling around France covering the main French padel events.

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