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  • Peter Burwash International

PBI Associate Spotlight: Eric Thorel

From an early age, my all-time favorite character was and still is Tintin! Whilst reading his adventures, I remember being transported to far-away countries and being animated at every turn of a page with his action-packed stories and exotic encounters. I remember also immersing myself into any book that would take me on a trip from my room. The first bug I caught was about travel.

Tennis came as a leisurely activity when I was 13 years old though the salesperson who wanted to sell me the “Bjorn Borg” racquet missed her pitch because I didn’t know who he was! I loved the game right away and if you’ve seen how enthused a dog is at fetching balls, that was me then… and now. Tennis became my 2nd passion. As luck has it, my first “job” was as a tennis instructor with Club Med, which awoke a vocation for teaching and wearing shirts and shorts versus jacket and tie as a uniform.

A real springboard in my “touring professional” journey was attending a Coaching & Management Internship Program at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton. Whilst I didn’t rub shoulders with Agassi, Courier, and Seles, the place's breathless pace of eat-sleep-tennis was all a meek player and aspiring coach like me could ask for, and more. Six months later (was it luck again or stars being aligned), I picked up an ad from PBI. WHAT? A worldwide tennis management company?!? On top of that operating in luxury clubs and resorts? Where do I sign up?! After several phone calls with HQ, I was invited to meet with Roger Darrohn at the French Open 1990 (Peter Burwash was coaching Andrew Sznajder). There we sat under a tree on the lawn, and like a philosopher with his disciple, Roger probed on whether I would fit in the PBI lifestyle and community. With now 33-year hindsight, I’m forever grateful to Roger, Peter, and the Stanglwirt pros whom I subsequently visited for closing my acceptance into the company.

So, what has kept me in PBI for so long? Well, beyond indulging my liking for world exploration and tennis (and getting paid for it), it’s really the unwavering support of the team and uncompromising standards of service that make for a fulfilling career as a tennis professional. I simply haven’t found a better coach or better fellow professionals to work with! Most impressive to me as an endless student of the game, I’ve not found a simpler approach to teaching and more correct concepts than those exposed in Tennis For Life; Peter was truly a genius in writing such an inspired and inspiring book. Now, like many senior PBI professionals, I see it as my responsibility to carry on Peter’s legacy and be most patient and persistent in instilling those concepts with the newer professionals coming into the company. This way, they can share them as purely as possible with their players around the world.

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