While most French players are in Bourg-en-Bresse for the FIP Rise, Thomas Vanbauce, and his teammate Dorian DeMeyer chose Qatar this week. The opportunity for us to return with Thomas to the journey of the French pair in Asia and this decision to choose Qatar rather than France…
His tops/flops in Thailand
We made the decision to arrive early in Thailand so that we could quickly break away from the tournaments in Mexico and be able to visit the country and discover the culture of Thailand. Everything is completely different compared to the countries we have been to before. Especially since we usually only travel for the tournament, then we return. But since we are on a tour, we had the opportunity to visit.
We also decided to leave Mexico early to get used to the time difference, because there was a 14-hour difference. This was also the aim of arriving early in Thailand.
Afterwards, the less good points, we had difficulty training the first days because it really depended on the rain. We were in a region in Thailand where there were no indoor courts. And it could start raining downpours at any moment.
The positive thing is that we were able to meet people, make some contacts on site and give our vision too. They are booming so they were keen to take any advice we could give them. And that was really a great experience.
From the American tour to the Asian tour
Initially, we were going to do an American tour. We were supposed to do two tournaments in Mexico, then we were scheduled to go to Venezuela to finish with Chile. Except that Venezela was canceled and, instead, we had the opportunity to do Kuwait, which had just been added, or Thailand.
In Thailand, there was really no one there. So we said to ourselves that for us, it was more beneficial to try to get ten points. Knowing that on top of that, we had ten days to prepare, to get used to the time difference. So we made this choice based on the level of the tournament, but especially for the points. Especially since the level of Kuwait was very high.
Afterwards, was it beneficial for us at the end of the tournament in terms of points? The answer is no. With those registered, we set out with the objective of winning the tournament. And it turns out we lose in the semi-final, with a lot of frustration at the end of the match. We don't develop our best padel both and we lose 6-4 in the third.
There were opportunities everywhere. We had the break in each set and we couldn't hold it both times. We really had the impression of being stronger in terms of padel but for not being able to develop our average level to get through it and win the match. Clearly, we missed our match and we were very disappointed in the end. In case of victory, we would have been in the final, and a final is won.
The development of padel in Thailand
In Thailand, they are creating a community. We are really at the very beginning. The first courses in Thailand were created three years ago. If I remember correctly, they started covering them a year ago. Today, there are several indoor structures being built.
There you need to be indoors because the weather really affects the practice. People play either very early in the morning or very late in the evening.
There is already a very large community of padel which went up. There are climbs and descents that are taken by storm. They have to rotate and select the people who will participate so that everyone can play. There is more and more demand and therefore, inevitably, less and less land available.
Compared to France, they are 5-10 years behind. We started on padel with Dorian, at the beginning around 2017-2018, the development was not the same as today in France. Well, they are at that stage. There are 2-3 Spanish coaches on site, who have a bit of a monopoly on the market, but everything needs to be built and the growth is taking off with all that.
There are also a lot of requests from expatriates. We gave a few lessons to Italians and French people. And even people who are already totally crazy about padel, even after six months of practice.
Doha instead of Bourg-en-Bresse: a strategic choice
Choosing Doha is a sporting choice because we come from Thailand. There is a six hour time difference with France and four with Doha. And it was only a seven-hour direct trip. And for France, it was a fifteen-hour flight, with a stopover. So, it was extra fatigue after we had just come out of a big disappointment in Thailand.
Plus, in Doha, this is where we won the FIP Promotion. We have good references, it’s the same club, the same places. And above all the tournament is less tough with Spanish, Qatari or Emirati pairs. So we made the decision to come to Doha for the sporting and physical aspects.
Bourg-en-Bresse is the toughest FIP Rise of the year. So since we haven't really had any results on the FIP Rise, it was better to choose Doha.
Of course, if the two tournaments had been of the same level, with the same time difference, we would have chosen France ten times. We are disappointed not to be able to play in France, but it's a choice, it's accepted and that's how it is.
It was his brother who one day told him to accompany him on a track. padel, since then, Gwenaëlle has never left the court. Except when it comes to going to watch the broadcast of Padel Magazine, World Padel Tour… or Premier Padel…or the French Championships. In short, she is a fan of this sport.