This week I want to share a story about a special person on the Sanchez-Casal team, Alvaro Pino. Alvaro is the son of Antonio Pino, a former tennis player, and coach who has worked with us since the Academy was founded in Barcelona.
The week in Mobile, Alabama went by fast and was solely concentrated on the tournament. It hit me at the trophy presentation when the announcer asked Jerry which places he liked most during his stay in Mobile, and Jerry answered, “the club was very nice”. We spent eight days in Mobile with very little time to go around and explore the town, but Jerry was cooperative and willing to sacrifice his free time because he knew he was there to win. This is the type of sacrifice a tennis player must make in order to achieve solid steps in his formation, even at thirteen years old. For anyone involved in helping young players, finding balance is an everyday dynamic. A kid is a kid, but in a competitive sport and environment like this, they need to develop professional skills from the beginning without losing their playful essence and “spark” that makes them fun individuals to be around.
This year, we celebrate 20 years in Barcelona, 6 in USA and 3 in China. Reaching these milestones made me think of all the ways my team has contributed to Academia Sanchez Casal’s success. Thanks to them, Academia Sanchez-Casal and our tennis teaching system have become recognized everywhere we go. To commemorate, I want to share a series of stories about the people who have helped us get to where we are today.
ASC player Ramkumar Ramanathan is one to watch at the Miami Open 2018. Last year the Indian player jumped 143 spots in the Singles ranking and is now ranked world N135. Also, worth mentioning is his victory over world N6 Dominic Thiem at the Antalya Open in June 2017 (where he reached the quarterfinals), his first main draw qualification of a Masters 1000 tournament at Cincinnati Masters in August 2017, or his role as a N1 player at the India Davis Cup Team. However, the 23-year old player is now facing one of his long time aspired career goals: to compete in the Miami Open.
“Tennis is a mental game. Everyone is fit, everyone hits great forehands and backhands.” Novak Djokovic
What does it take to get to the same level of competition as Djokovic, Murray or Nadal?
A comprehensive training method is essential to take a player to the top of the tennis pyramid, the elite stage only a few of the thousands talented tennis players who dream to reach the top 100 attain. At Academia Sánchez-Casal, we use our own training method, the ASC 360 Performance System, which is universally effective in helping its students- athletes achieve their best tennis level. This system has been used by professional ATP tennis players such as Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Monaco, and WTA players such as Svetlana Kuznetsova, Daniela Hantuchova, Tamira Paszek and more.
Sometimes I wonder why I engaged in this adventure of dreams in which I involved myself, my family and so many people who give everything for our students-athletes at Sánchez-Casal. Every holiday, when I review the year, I wonder if it’s worth it. 2017 was terrible, so many tough things happened: Casper, our little angel, left us; Irma visited us, leaving innumerable damages; we had to internally improve and grow in order to maintain our position.
Emilio Sanchez is not a man who pulls any punches. He wears his heart and passion on his sleeve.
A proud Spaniard who will never sugarcoat an answer to curry-favor an over zealous parent promoting their son’s unbelievable talent. An inveterate champion who will never camouflage his true thoughts by spinning “a fools paradise” prediction about a child’s future prospects on the Pro Tour just to be polite or for potential business.
No, not Sanchez. He’s blunt and honest. When you entrust your impressionable teenager into his tennis domain, Emilio’s aim is simple, direct and straightforward—namely to nurture, develop, and transform each individual athlete he works with into the highest-caliber performance tennis player.
Everything that happens has a reason: some people call it ‘destiny’, others ‘energy’, some people call it ‘luck’, and others, ‘bad luck’. I think I’m fortunate to live life how I choose. I carry with me my principles and values, and I am that way partly thanks to my parents, thanks to the education they provided me, some key people that became role models in my life but mainly thanks to tennis, which shaped my character and made me resilient to adversity.
The past months have been very hard. With the school year beginning shortly, appeared to be promising year. The kids arrived back to school excited about setting and accomplishing new goals, objectives and dreams. There was a healthy and renovated vibe here at ESIS and ASC.
However, things changed suddenly when one of the early traveling teams (competition groups) traveled to the Caribbean to compete in some tournaments and get some ITF points. Competing in these tournaments allows players to play during the rest of the year at the ITF tournaments, as well as receive excellent options of being considered by college coaches.
I’m writing from the terrace of the players’ lounge at the Indian Wells event. Fernando just finished his match, and it was a tough loss. Fernando couldn’t handle adversity the way I was hoping he could. We had practiced these types of situations a little, but these practices haven’t become a habit yet. He has to be more resilient. It won’t be easy, but I love challenges – the more difficult the better.