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Tom Vaillant: “The thrill is there”

He is with Julien Sale, one of two Frenchmen to have won a category in the 2023 Challenge Tour through the Alps Tour Ranking. Tom Vaillant, two victories this year in the 3rd European division, will start the next season in a new world: that of professionals. A life change that requires organization, career management and decision making. How does the Cannes-Mougins player intend to operate during this transition from amateur to professional? He tells us more.

Before talking about your next vote, a few comments about your recent performances as an amateur, which were quite good.
“I really ended my amateur career with very good performances. First it was the world championship at home, which was a crazy experience. I also had a big challenge afterwards with my club, who relied on me and my partners to bring back the titles. We managed to win the Lignel in Chamonix and then the European Club Cup. It was super nice to end my amateur career in that way with an important trophy. I felt like I was giving a little bit back to my club with these wins. And of course this full year in the Alps tour as an amateur but now with a professional attitude and mindset.

Exactly, two wins in the Alps Tour, the right to go to the Challenge Tour for 2023. Looking back, how did you experience this year?
“It was really a big challenge for me this year. I had the opportunity to play the whole season in this circuit and whatever people say, it was an incredible experience. It is often said that the courses are not crazy, that neither are the fields, but for me it remains the best training. You play with great guys, at a good level, so it’s the best way to learn. It also helped me a lot to perform well in the France team when needed. Incredible experience with two wins and meets, so I have no regrets this year and gained a lot of experience to evolve next year on the Challenge Tour. »

I’ve been approached by three or four agents, so a choice has to be made, but I have to think about the subject at the moment.

You also try your luck in PQ2 of the DP World Tour, it didn’t go far.
“PQ2 were a good run at the same time, but I lost this extra stage by two points. I didn’t end up with strawberries either, but I wasn’t on hand, so it’s a shame to do a counter-performance. It’s strange because I hadn’t missed a cut since February. The higher you get to the top of the basket, the harder it is. It just had to be better and with all the wear and tear of the year I wasn’t fresh and clear enough at the time. »

What do you remember from this card test?
“You have to get to know yourself and in the last two I realized that I don’t have to play a lot to play well. I want to arrive fresh and mentally ready for every event and I will try to do that in the challenge tournament. I knew the papers would be difficult. We decided to go there and it didn’t happen. This is a lesson to be learned from this card experience and from my year as a whole. »

How is your future organized? Already have an idea for your calendar for 2023?
“I haven’t got the calendar yet, I looked at it a bit last year and discussed it with players who have been on the same journey as me like Paul Margolis. Everything is still on the way. I am lucky to keep my staff, with Jean-François Lucquin, with David Baudrier, Makis Chamalidis and Khélil Baba-Aissa. Everything is already connected, so on that side it’s good. I’m dealing with the issue of sponsorship, agents, I’ve been contacted by three or four agents so choices have to be made, but I have to think about this topic at the moment. You need to know how to surround yourself with the right people and sell yourself as well as possible to satisfy a good image. I’ve been advised a lot by Antoine Delon and Jeff Lucquin thanks to their experience, but it’s up to me to make the final decision. »

What is your schedule currently and how are your days structured?
“I resumed training this week. I continue the sport every day with David. I’ll be playing a bit of Win Tour to keep up the pace. I don’t need to play tournaments to find the intensity. I feel able to stay in the right dynamic during training. I start from the principle that you should not change when it works. I just need to take everything to the next level. I’ll stay in Cannes-Mougins any day. I will stay where I live. Maybe a little practice or two to get ready for the season. As soon as I have the calendar I will prepare it.

Is the excitement and envy starting to set in?
“I want to start playing golf, that’s for sure! It’s a bit exciting even if there are accounting, organizational and logistical constraints at the moment. Not very fun stuff, but it’s mandatory and part of my job now. I hope to do everything as soon as possible and dedicate myself to the game soon. »

Ideally, what can we wish Tom Vaillant for next season?
“Ideally it is to produce the level of play to play in the European tournament. I want to get there next year if I can. I will keep the same goal as this year by raising my level of play and that will be my whole career. At the moment there are no performance targets, just progress, work, learn and get to a level of play that gives me the opportunity to enter the Tour. »

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