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.
Tennis is a very demanding sport mentally, requiring strong focus, maximum attention, and motivation for a long period of time. However, it is also a noble and generous sport because it allows you to overcome adverse situations and rectify problems in the middle of a match. Our mind is our most powerful tool to achieve it.
Champions are those that in the face of adversity are resilient.
This is quote 17 of a series launched by Emilio Sánchez Vicario under the title ‘21 Successful Habits for Overcoming Adversity’. In his previous articles, Emilio has linked together personal experiences with other people’s stories of progress and improvement, with adversity as the underlying theme. The 17th quote is entitled, ‘Accept that adversity is always there: you have to live with it, it is part of your ‘Actual State’, it is a part of everything.’ In this article, we wanted Emilio to explain why he choose adversity as the underlying theme of this series, and what it means to him.
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.