This year is our 20th year anniversary, looking back it’s amazing how fast it went, I could write pages and pages of our success and relationships with amazing people. It brings a smile to my face when I hear testimonials from past players and they talk about hard work, effort, discipline, and respect. Our mission of creating opportunities in tennis, education and life is stronger than ever and it makes me proud to look back and see that base of our success and values are still intact.
1258 kilometers of driving, 10 universities, 6 northeastern states and 111 tennis matches. We have just returned from the annual ASC-ES International School University Trip. This is not a typical university trip. Ours reflects exactly who we are – in both mission and values — as a tennis academy and a school.
Conversations, ideas, exploration, victories, disappointments, wins, losses, laughter, tears, discovery, and growth… the essence of our Academy embodied in the lives of 9 of our student-athletes.
A normal day at Academia Sanchez-Casal, Florida is not exactly a true statement. For our annual students, the day seems to be anything but ordinary. With three-hour practices in the morning, then school along with study hall in the afternoon, most can agree that being an ASC Florida annual student is more than just tennis practices and school assignments. As athletes, they must focus on their personal goals of whether they will go on to play college tennis or become a professional tennis player. As students, it is a different matter, they need to focus on their grades and their overall performance in school. Having the ability to balance out their passion for tennis and academics brings them a step ahead in life. However, the question still remains on what is life at the Academy? I have the answer to that question from past and present annual students: Emilio Sánchez, Victoria Sánchez, Adéle Fernández, Ritwik Chatt, and myself Ana Gabriela Canahuate Torres.
The latest of the Emilio Sánchez Vicario Foundation’s (FESV) projects, The Casper Tour, came to life in tribute to the young Spanish tennis player, Casper Fernández.
In the words of Emilio Sanchez, “The Casper Tour is a bit different because you don’t go there just to play and win. Sometimes you need to learn how to lose as well, without forgetting the most important thing, which is the heart and the soul of a competitor.”
With this goal in mind, it was essential to make the matches as equal as possible and that is how the support of the UTR, Powered by Oracle, became necessary.
A top-ranked tennis professional, although alone on court, is supported by a variety of experts: at the very least, an ATP or WTA player usually travels with a tennis coach, a physiotherapist, and a fitness trainer. However, on championship Sunday of the 2018 Delray Beach Open, 64th world-ranked German Peter Gojowczyk was supported by a much more unpredictable team: I (who had just met Peter 10 days prior to that Sunday), along with an old friend of Peter’s from 11 years prior and his friend’s daughter were the ones accompanying him. In hindsight, perhaps the unforeseen makeup of his player’s box that day was representative of his surprising run to the final that week.
In a few months, Laura López, who started tennis training in the after-school program ten years ago, will achieve her dream of attending Boston College to play college level tennis while working towards a university degree. We had time to talk to her and hear her story; a story that she is happy to share with our current student-athletes, and anyone out there who might have the same dreams.
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.
Last month Academia Sánchez-Casal (ASC) lived one of its most challenging moments when it had to prepare for Irma, a category 5 hurricane that landed over the city of Naples where the American ASC headquarters is located.
The hurricane, which was supposed to hit east of Miami, shifted towards Southwest Florida 48 hours before making landfall in the US. By then, the hurricane forecast models predicted that the eye of the hurricane, where the strongest rain, winds and gusts are experienced, was going to overpass Naples.
Many students’ lives today are filled with technology which gives them infinite access to information and resources, enabling them to pursue their interests in their own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless.
December is an exciting and active time for junior tennis players all around the globe. The Academia Sanchez-Casal is proud to join the ranks of Eddie Herr, Little Mo and The Orangebowl by introducing the brand new Sanchez-Casal International Winter Junior Cup, which will take place December 7-10, 2017 in beautiful Naples, Florida.