Brothers Quang, Bao Duong joining forces in men's doubles
DALLAS, TX - Seventeen-year-old Quang Duong isn’t the only member of his family competing at the Hertz Gold Cup on Saturday.
Duong’s 12-year-old brother, Bao, will be his doubles partner and officially make his professional pickleball debut in the process.
It marks the fulfillment of a goal the brothers set a while back.
“We’ve talked about playing together our whole lives,” said Quang, who has quickly made a name for himself on the PPA Tour. “I just never would have expected that we would play our first professional tournament together this soon.”
Bao might be a few years his junior, but Quang is adamant that his younger sibling is already the real deal on the court.
He openly admits that Bao has a superior skill set that will serve him well as he embarks on his career.
“My brother is the talented one between us. He's literally better than me in anything related to racquet sports,” revealed Quang. “He’s a righty, but trains as a lefty in tennis and pickleball. He sees the court and reads the game better than me, even with the age difference.”
The Duongs are products of their father Duc’s teaching and training regimen.
And his methods for elevating Quang and Bao’s respective games is rather unique.
“Bao is my toughest opponent because Dad puts a lot of handicaps on me. For example, Bao can serve and volley on the full court and I’m only allowed to play half court. I either have to come up with some great passing shots or lobs or some smart strategies to beat him,” explained Quang. “We played for our lives. The loser would have to take out the trash for a couple of days or clean bathrooms, anything that the winner asked. It’s always been a war, almost every session, but Dad trains many routines and patterns with us, so we sync well.”
Like any serious athlete with high expecations, Quang appreciates the grind.
He knows that being challenged on a daily basis in practice will only make him and Bao more difficult to compete against moving forward.
"We don't train expecting certain match results or outcomes, we focus on how well we fight together. We're on this journey for the long-term. The most important thing is fighting hard and learning from our mistakes to prepare for the next battle," shared Quang. "Dad taught us everything we know. He recorded everything since the day we were born, every training clip and match we've ever played. Our family Google Cloud account is over 1 TB. He's the one helping us achieve our dreams and making them come true."
While Quang is affectionately known as "Avatar" around pickleball circles, Bao's nickname "Nitro" has an equally cool ring to it.
He's eager to rise to the occasion of going head-to-head with the sport's top athletes on the biggest stage... even with zero tournament experience under his belt.
"Unlike my brother, my dad delayed my participation in tournaments. I've never played any tennis or pickleball tournaments. He said I wouldn't play in a junior tennis tournament, but I would play a pro tournament when I was ready. I play recreational tennis mostly against adults, so I can compete well," explained Bao. "Watching my dad mentally train my brother for the past 10 years has really helped me. Playing with Quang is giving me a lot of confidence because if anything goes wrong, he's a pro."
Bao's clearly a big fan of Quang, of course, but he enjoys having a little fun at his expense as well.
There's an amusing dynamic between the pair.
"I beat him every day when we train," mentioned Bao. "I still give him grief for losing to Ben Johns three times after all the hours that Dad has spent on him."
As for Duc, he's just appreciating the ride.
No doubt he'll be front and center when his boys take the court to begin their new adventure as a tandem in the Sunshine State.
"Exactly six months ago, Quang played his first pro singles match in Atlanta, and now Quang and Bao are playing their first pro doubles match in Daytona," concluded Duc. "My kids are literally growing up on the PPA Tour."
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