Former football referee converted to football padel, Peter Claeys traced a path that took him from the football fields in Belgium to the courts of padel international. He shares his experience, challenges and highlights, providing a behind-the-scenes look at thearbitrage.
From football to padel
“My career as a referee began on the football fields, where I spent more than 20 years. However, the padel captured my interest and led me down a new path. I started by refereeing exhibition matches in Belgium. This led me to follow a FEPA arbitration course in Portugal, marking the real start of my career in the padel. "
From his beginnings at the APT until Premier Padel
“My journey in arbitration padel took off with my first APT tournament in Liège in April 2021. This experience was the springboard for my participation in the WPT in Brussels in May 2022. I also had the honor of participating in the World Padel League in June 2023, and soon I will referee at Premier Padel in Riyadh, in February.”
“Among the most difficult matches I have refereed, I think of a match at APT Kungsbacka. I had to rely on my knowledge of Spanish to make correct decisions, a true test of my language skills. I also think of an APT match in Hungary where I had to make an important decision by giving a penalty at a key moment in the match, a test of judgment and firmness. Finally, at the Tenerife APT, I refereed a tense match between former partners Oliviera and Torre, which required warnings for both players.
Meeting with celebrities
Another highlight I can think of was at the APT in Sweden because I got to see tennis legends Thomas Johansson and Jonas Bjorkman play against each other. I also had the opportunity to meet sports personalities such as Charles Leclerc after a celebrity match.”
His best moments
“My first official match as a chair umpire in the main draw of WPT Brussels 2022 was an important milestone in my career, marking my entry into the high-level tournament arena. The following year, at WPT Brussels 2023, I had the honor of refereeing several matches on center court.
Le World Padel Tour in Amsterdam was an emotional moment because it was my last match on the WPT. And then, the unique experience of refereeing in Dubai with the best players in the world was an important point, because it allowed me to compete at the highest level of the world. padel worldwide. ”
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