Emilio Sánchez has spent more than two decades coaching tennis players, including the thousands of student-athletes that have trained at the Sánchez-Casal Academies in Barcelona and Florida, as well as the Spain Davis Cup team. He was the captain of the Spanish team when they won against their great Argentinian rivals in Mar de Plata in 2008, bringing together a dream team of players including Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano López or David Ferrer, among others. Together, they achieved a landmark victory in winning the Cup away from home after beating their opponents 3-1, giving Spain its 3rd Davis Cup title.
Last week, two ASC players, Ramkumar Ramanthan and Rudy Richter, participated in the first round of the Davis Cup 2017. Ramkumar is playing on the India Davis Cup Team, and Rudy Ritcher on the Guatemalan team.
As he walks into the room, all the ASC Florida student-athletes stare at him. You can feel their admiration towards him and the curiosity about what he is going to explain to them.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon in December. On this day every week, Sanchez-Casal players have a group mental session, where they work on their short and long-term training and learning objectives.
Today the dynamics are different since there is a special guest speaker, former #4 ranked ATP player Robin Söderling. The Swede, who won a total of 10 ATP tournaments, may best be remembered as the man who beat Rafa Nadal at the French Open in 2009 and prevented the player from Manacor from winning his fifth straight Coupe des Mousquetaires.
It’s August. 6am in the morning in Naples, Florida. Alarms start to go off in the players’ dorms. Sleepy faces emerge, excited about starting a new day of their new life at the Academy. There’s lots of emotions, worries and news… They are also excited about this new stage of their lives. A stage which, for almost every athlete at the Sanchez-Casal Academy, is hugely influential on their development as a person.
It’s been 18 years since we founded the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, and 4 since we opened our academy in the US. Our mission is very clear: to provide opportunities in both tennis and education. We have helped lots of students to go through college placement process and take advantage of the fantastic education system provided by the USA, which allows players that love a sport to practice it and attend college at the same time. In Spain and the rest of Europe, those possibilities quickly vanish. If you want to succeed in tennis or any other sport, you won’t find any infrastructure or competition.
Enjoy the pressure. Feel it, like it, savor it. You’ve worked so hard to arrive to this moment and now you are READY.
By Emilio Sánchez Vicario, CEO & Founder at Sánchez-Casal Academy.
The Davis Cup is different. It is something special that arrives at the end of every year bringing incredible stories full of emotion. The result of this energy that turn out epic matches. This year, Argentina’s story touched my heart.
Michelle Konkoly is all energy and determination. Last summer, the 24-year-old athlete saw her dreams fulfilled when she won 4 medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and broke two Paralympic records in the S9 100m freestyle and the S9 50m freestyle.
Originally from Pennsylvania, at Georgetown Konkoly joined the university’s swimming team. Her life was changed dramatically, however, when in her freshman year she fell five stories out of her dorm window and was seriously injured. She fractured several ribs and a vertebra, damaged her spinal cord, and as a result, was left paralyzed from the waist down.
Today is one of those days when you walk around with a big smile on your face. I am proud of what I do; I am part of the journey helping others create opportunities in tennis, education and life. Therefore when you wake up and realize that one of your student-athletes has fulfilled his potential and becomes NUMBER ONE IN THE WORLD, it just fills you up with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Everything that you work for makes sense.
Sport is fair. Life should be fair as well. We may make mistakes, but if we persist, a new opportunity will come along. It will always end up appearing. But you should be prepared, working, looking forwards with confidence but not in a rush.
With 17 Grand Slams in his pocket, Roger Federer has lost multiple finals since 2008: to Nadal four times, once at the French Open, once at Wimbledon and once at the US Open; and to Djokovic, three times.
This amounts to more than ten Grand Slam finals lost – we can only imagine where he would be in the ATP ranking. However, today I’m not going to talk about the matches in particular, or about tactics, physical condition or mindset. Today I want to commend Roger Federer as a role model, as a player who respects his rivals when he is defeated.
Tennis is an individual sport. However all the preparation, the travel, etc. is normally done in a team, the team who stands by you in both the best and worst of times – or at least that’s how Emilio Sánchez Vicario has experienced it.