Finalist of the P2000 of PadelShot Caen, Benjamin Grué looks back on the progress of the competition and his premiere with the'Spanish Miguel Gonzalez.

Still work…

“It’s the first time we played together with Miguel. We had a somewhat gradual start on Saturday with a first round victory 6-4 6-2 then a victory in the quarter-final 6-4 6-4. Unfortunately, during our semi-final, Benoît Theard was injured and he and his partner Thibaud Pech had to withdraw. In the final, we found ourselves facing two players who are used to playing together (Bergeron and Moreau), who showed a lot of intensity from the start. These are players who play very well, the score is fluctuating (6-1 6-1) but the result is logical. Despite everything, I have some positives because I reached the final of the tournament but I still have work to do to reach their level”.

“The first time I played with a Spaniard, Aitor Garcia, at the P1500 in Bordeaux, we won. This title made me want to continue in a big tournament with him, but Aitor could not go to Caen because he was at P2 in Asuncion. So I tried to contact several players until Miguel Gonzalez accepted. What's interesting is not just the tournament itself, but rather all the discussions we can have between us. Being around these kinds of players helps me progress. This is the feeling I felt during my tournament with Aitor and that's why I wanted to repeat the experience. The idea is to progress and learn from these players.”

Paying for your partner: not a problem!

“We have a deal together on expenses and prize money that goes to him. It wasn't my intention at the start but I didn't have a partner and so this idea came to me to try with Aitor. I liked it so much that I told myself that I had to enjoy my career and I wanted to play big tournaments with good guys to compete against the best. It's a personal choice, but I understand that other people have other points of view. I don't regret this choice because on both occasions (Aitor and Miguel) I feel that I am learning and progressing. This allows us to progress and I also think that the public is happy to see this type of players in these tournaments. I risk repeating the experience in other tournaments.”

A first tournament without pain in 2024

“What is complicated for me is that I am 36 years old and have a professional life as a teacher of padel. I still try to go to FIPs from time to time, but mainly to tournaments where I want to go. I don’t play the international circuit like them (Bergeron, Moreau, Gonzalez…) hence the fact that we see a gap developing with these players.”

“I came here to evaluate myself physically over 4 matches and in the end I came out of the tournament without pain. This is one of the first times this has happened to me since returning from injury last January. I am very satisfied with this tournament in terms of physical condition.”

The return of the Grué/Cancel pair?

“I was supposed to do the year with Maxime Forcin but he decided to do the French Championships with Dylan Guichard. I therefore had to find a partner for these Championships and also before, to prepare them as best as possible. We therefore decided with Ludovic (Cancel) that we were going to do tournaments together to prepare for these French Championships while telling ourselves that if we wanted to play with other players in a few important tournaments we could do so. From now on we will do tournaments together, starting with the P1500 in Sète.”

Some FIPs this summer?

“Next week I'm doing the P1000 in Narbonne with Alexis Coulombeau, then the P1500 in Sète with Ludovic Cancel. At the end of these two tournaments I will take stock and see if I can do some FIP over the summer depending on the destinations. »

“For the Bordeaux P2, there are only 4 Wild-Card, two for the table and two for the qualifications. I don't think I'm at the level and I think there are players who deserve it much more than me, whether in terms of level or age.”

The entire interview:

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