As the Class of 2019 prepares to graduate from ASC/ ESIS, a wide variety of opportunities await them in life, most immediately at colleges and universities throughout the United States. The 13 seniors, comprising the largest Academy class from Naples to graduate thus far, have accepted offers from some of the finest academic and athletic programs in the nation, among them Tufts University, Michigan State University and Brigham Young University.
There are only a few weeks for the long-awaited graduation of our students-athletes at ASC Florida, we wanted to interview our senior students and know their stories of how they got to Sanchez-Casal, what their expectations are in this new university stage, and their advice for young people who seek to balance tennis with their studies; they told us how all the effort was worth it in the end after so many years of sacrifice and hard work. Clara March, Aleksandra Caricir, and Casey Cummings of the Sanchez-Casal Florida Academy.
As Emilio Sánchez Vicario says, “Our academy graduates go to Harvard, they go to Columbia… but they also go to Wimbledon.” This is the main goal of the Academy, and to achieve it there is only one true method: offer the best high performance tennis training combined with an excellent academic education.
When you get to know coach Luchas, you realize his ability, his vision, and his mind. His attention to detail is above the ordinary; watching him distribute the 60 academy students and coordinate the ten or more coaches to fully implement the 360 system everyday is a true spectacle.
Sport offers many opportunities to learn and grow, and this is as true of wheelchair tennis as it is of any other sport. Jesus, Juan, Jennifer, Rocio and Domingo are patients of the National Hospital of Paraplegics in Toledo and they attend the Emilio Sánchez Vicario Foundation wheelchair tennis school as an important phase in their recovery.
It’s 6:00am and Julia’s alarm clock sounds. Outside it’s still a bit dark and quiet. She prepares her tennis bag and grabs her racquet. She walks five minutes from the house to the cafeteria with some campers to meet the big group and have breakfast by 6:30am. Breakfast includes cereal, toast, ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit juice and milk.
At 7:00am she’s on the court to start her morning practice for three hours. It’s a sunny day as almost every day is in Naples, Florida. After tennis practice, she has an hour of fitness to stretch but also goes through a tennis specific performance training.
The big day had arrived. The dream final: Rafa against his archrival. Rafa spent months changing his game to be more aggressive and had created great expectations. The whole world of tennis predicted a great battle, even I thought it would be another epic final that would ultimately depend exclusively on the mental pillar.
At Sánchez-Casal Academy, the development of our long-stay players is very important to us. That is why we created the ASC Player Development and Competition Plan, summarized in the Sánchez-Casal Pyramid©, which shows players the path to success in the professional world of tennis. Do you want to follow the same path as Murray, Kuznetsova, Sanchez V, Dimitrov or Monaco?
“When students come to ASC, they don’t have a lot of experience, but when they leave, they know they have learned something that will help them for any life match they play in their future. Values build character, and the right attitude can multiply the outcome, so parents often congratulate us and thank us for helping their children work on those values and develop their character.” Interview with Emilio Sánchez Vicario.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to Vovodymyr “Vova” Nikolenko, another great traveling coach who has been on the Sanchez Casal team for many years. He started playing tennis early on at the age of 7 in his home country, Ukraine and arrived in Barcelona as a student-athlete in 2003. After high school, he decided he wanted to continue being a part of ASC and started coaching in 2006.