Peter Bruijsten is a typical Dutch guy from the east. Little words; no big words. Hardly ever speak about himself. He has, up to this point, not even accepted personal sponsors. But there is something special about him: three years in a row number one in the Netherlands, 2014-2017. Further, at number 254, he is the highest ranked Dutch padel player in the World Padel Tour. We were fortunate to have him for an interview that might inspire others to follow his steps.
How does it feel to be number one? First of all, padel is never played alone. So I have to thank my partners. But, I am a proud man. The Nederlandse Padelbond started the padelcircuit in 2014 with a few tournaments. Back in these days, there were only 8 locations in the Netherlands. In the first year, players who played the most with the best results, logically ended number one. But, in the second year (2015) players had to defend their points they earned the year before. For 2016 and 2017 applies the same. This system is a fair system, because new players can grow fast on the ranking when they start playing padel. This seems very motivating to me. But, the second year you play, it is more difficult to earn points. First of all, you have to defend your results, or you will loose points. To climb on the ranking, players have to improve the results. So, to be a high-ranked padel player was relatively easy these first years, just play as many tournaments as you can. But the second year is gonna be tough. If you play less, you will go down. Nowadays, it is not as easy anymore, since we have over 400 licensed players on the ranking. Soon there will be many more when playing competition counts too. To be number one for three years makes me happy. But lately, I feel hunted by the new players, with their strong and fast game…. I like to challenge them to play even more this year and to play exciting matches with and against each other. The atmosphere in padel is unique, it is friendly and about fun. I hope we can continue this great culture.
How did you get there? Well, to be honest, I am a board member of the NPB. That is one of the reasons I played most tournaments. On the other hand, I do like to play at the different clubs. Playing with and against many other players helps me to develop my game. Mr. Norberto Nesi, our head coach, trained me from the start. Norberto turned me from a tennis player into padel player. I think I was one of the first players in the Netherlands who could play from outside of the court and through the door in. I remember that Norberto trained me when to go out and how to play in. Secondly, I have to thank my girlfriend. I spend a lot of time on the court. And when I am off the court, I think, speak and dream padel. She might get crazy sometimes :-).
Why do you play padel? I have a short answer. It is easy to learn, but it takes you a lifetime to master it.
Who is your partner? Lately I play a lot with Bram Meijer, a very good young player. I used to play with Coen Beltman from TEZ Enschede. A solid player, with great defense and a good mentality. After 3 years playing together, Coen stopped playing padel at national level. So last year, I played with many other great players. My favorite position is on the left, but I am starting to move to the right. On the left it seems more aggressive, and on the right I can be a builder. But you can consider this as a request to Coen, with his 27 years way too young to retire. Coen, game’s on.
What are your goals for 2017 and up? Our biggest goal in 2016 was to qualify for the 13th World Cup in Lisboa, Portugal. Unfortunately, the Dutch National Team did not qualify. I lost my deciding match with ‘el osso’ Berend Boers against Austria with a tight 6-7 7-5 6-7. I would trade my number one position immediately for a ticket to the world cup. Well, unfortunately that is not possible. We will see what happens this year. I try to play as much international tournaments, preferably with FIP status.
Also, with ‘el nino’ Bram Meijer I played a few World Padel tour matches. The highest level in the world, against the pro’s. Bram and me were the first Dutch couple to play the WPT. We will sign up for these tournaments this year again. Of course we cannot play the main draw, we need to qualify in the pre-qualifications for the qualifications for the main draw. We do have a ranking at the WPT, I hear that the International Padel Federation and WPT work together for one international ranking. Further, Bram and me like to travel all around Europe to play as many as we can. All weekends are blocked for padel.
How do you see the near future for padel and yourself? I hope the competition in the Netherlands will continue, and we look forward to the Dutch championship padel. We see a lot of new clubs joining the padel family and I hope people will have a lot of fun on the court. It is all about show, fun, excitement, social, it is more than just a sport, it becomes a lifestyle :-). Padel lives you up!