By Daniel Muñoz Pozo, Head of Communications & Media at Sánchez-Casal Academy.
Sánchez-Casal Academy is more than a high-performance center; it’s a place full of stories and dreams. It is the starting point for young tennis players and students who dream of a brighter future ahead.
We typically talk about the successful sports careers of Murray, Kuznetsova, Dimitrov, and Müller; however, we are also proud to present the stories of those who have distinguished themselves in the working world after trusting in us for their athletic and academic progress.
Let’s talk about 6 inspirational stories that will make you love tennis; 6 success stories born at Sánchez-Casal and ES International School. These are 6 stories from Sánchez-Casal alumni: Judith, Calum, Laslo, Zhanna, Victoria, and Lawrence.
1. The right mentality: hard work and perseverance
Judith Llorens, was one of the first student-athletes to join the Academy in 1998. Born in Girona, she is now the Facilities Manager of a major company in Barcelona. As she admits herself, she overcame several challenges, starting with the language barrier, and then raised her tennis level enough to gain a scholarship to study and play tennis in the United States. “The right mentality and hard work are two of the key character traits I learned at Sánchez-Casal, and they served me well in my personal and professional life.”
2. The personal experiences, the happy moments lived together
Calum Gee, originally from Scotland, is currently an Executive Manager at Ogilvy & Matter. When asked about his special moments at the academy, he doesn’t speak about himself as an individual, but rather the feeling of being part of a team, of “being with some of my closest friends, some of who I still live with today. I will always remember my times with them, whether it was at the pool, or on the tennis court, we were always having fun together”.
3. A broken dream that made him discover his vocation as a coach
Laszlo Fono, from Budapest, is currently a tennis coach, a vocation he discovered long after his initial dream to become a professional tennis player that did not materialize. Laszlo recently returned for the second time to the Academy, this time to attend the coaches’ course and discover his vocation.
“I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I tried it, and it wasn’t meant to be, but I discovered another vocation. I realized that the way I used to train at Sanchez-Casal was a comprehensive way to help other players, and that awakened my vocation to be a coach”, says Laszlo.
4. Experiences, loyalty, and the support of the great staff
Zhanna Nemykina, currently a banking agent in Switzerland, trained at Sanchez-Casal for a period of 2 years. She recalls that her best moments were related to feeling supported by all the staff members. This unconditional support made her realize that “you should give 100%, regardless of your mood or your objectives, including during the stages when you are not sure of where all this will lead you”.
5. The experience that made me internally stronger and revealed to me my true self
Victoria Weiland, from Berlin, is currently the Director of Marketing & PR at Adlon Holding GmbH. She spent a season at the Academy and affirms that the capacity of sacrifice and of overcoming obstacles that she learned during that season made her change the way she sees life, because she realized that life is full of challenges.
“The experience changed me. My ability to sacrifice and overcome adversities was put to test, and it made me stronger. This is something I will cherish for life”, says Victoria.
6. Discipline, in tennis and studies, is a principal value of life
Lawrence Harradine, from the United Arab Emirates spent 4 years at Sánchez-Casal and is currently a Senior Events Executive at Sport360. Without any doubt, his years at the Academy were truly challenging in terms of successfully combining tennis and studies.
“The discipline I learned at the academy marked me forever”. This discipline, together with strict organization, and the tough demand to combine tennis with studies, made me mature quickly and learn important lessons “both in my professional and personal life”.
As you can see, these 6 stories represent people like you and me: people with a link to sports, tennis, and studies, and unforgettable experiences in the Sánchez-Casal Academy.
In the Spring of 2016, the first Alumni Meeting was held in AS-C Barcelona. It brought together many former student-athletes, who shared their stories of special moments, smiles and complicity, but they also shared their struggles, achievements, and lessons learned.
How about you? What dreams do you have? Would you like to start writing your own story with us?
Daniel Muñoz Pozo
Head of Communications & Media at Sánchez-Casal Academy