- When did padel first start in Thailand? What was the first club like?
Padel started in Thailand 3,5 years ago in Bangkok. As in most of the countries, there was always an entrepreneur (a bit crazy) to start it. I was the one who find the investors and the landlord and I was the connection to make it happen.
- How did the local population find padel at the start? How much has the sport grown in the last couple of years?
The Thailand population they are not very interested for the moment in padel, we have only 15% of our customers who are thai. Our 85% of people are foreigners living in Thailand.
The price of the fee is not cheap and as it happened in most of the countries around the world, the first years Padel is for medium/up class, not a massive sport. In the last 2 years we build 7 more courts and nowadays we have 8 courts in the country.
- Did you have (are having) any teething problems with introducing this new sport?
We have problems with legal documents because padel is not inside of GAISF and Thai government not recognize sports which are not inside them. so government is not helping us and we do everything with our own connections. Thai people love badminton, but fee of badminton is very cheap, so we can’t convince them to combine both sports.
Land in Bangkok and prime areas in Thailand are super expensive nowadays, too risky for renting land, we can kill the business due to a very high renting, so we must be careful choosing the locations.
Tennis people see us as competitors for business, besides they think padel is the small brother of tennis and the think is boring haha. Moreover, they think they will lose their tennis skills because playing padel…. I suppose all of them play ATP and they can’t play padel hahahha
- Where are you now? How many courts in the country and how many players?
We settled up the Thailand Padel Association 18 months ago, so we are still a baby in our life. We are developing local tournaments, club tournaments and Asian tournaments.
We have 8 courts but we think in 2020 we will build a few more (land is super expensive). We have around 200 players in all country who are addicted, occasionally players we have around 400
- What is your focus for the next year? What do you think will be the future of padel in Thailand?
We are focused on improving our relationship with government to have more options for locations. This is our main goal for 2020.
We will try to make a team for qualy for world championship. Padel in Thailand will be very nice in the next 5-10 years, here people love badminton and table tennis, so we only need time to make it popular.
Website – https://www.padelthailand.com
My name is Gustavo Oriol “Gio” (40), born in Castellon (east coast of Spain, next to Valencia) you know where because we made the juniors championship there hehehe
My whole life is around sports and I was semi-pro football player in Spain in 3rd division and even playing in Thailand for one season. I met padel 15 years ago and was first love impact, I always played it just for fun.
I landed in Thailand 7 years ago for working in management of a resort and we found nothing about padel in the country, so after a few years without padel, we started the project to build the first court in Thailand. Since then I studied Padel courses and I visited Spain to make Padel my career.
With the collaboration of Mr Koyi Nakatsuka we both organized in Bangkok the first ASIAN Tournament of the history with Japan vs Thailand, since that moment we make this event every 2 years adding new countries such as Qatar, Australia and India, we hope next 2021 we will have more countries playing the Asian tournament.