A few weeks ago, at Sánchez-Casal we had the visit of the CNN tennis crew led by its leader Pat Cash, the Aussie, my old friend, my rival. They came to videotape the academy for a new chapter of their tennis show.
It was a pleasure to have him at the academy, I was showing him all the facilities while he was interviewing me for the show, we walked through the courts, we went to the fitness room, we assist to a classroom in the school, we stayed at the cafeteria, we saw Nico working with one of his players in the videolab and we met with Sergio and other academy coaches. Pat said he was really impressed with the Sánchez-Casal facilities and its operational organization.
Besides the interview questions we had the opportunity to remember old times, and we remembered remarkable matches and points from many years ago. One of them was the match we played at the Australian Open, a tight five setter which end up to my side. Another one, very different, was the story happened thirty years ago, in my first international trip. It was in Italy, we played in semifinals and he beat me. I could feel then that he had a strong personality. I remember I even cried because of him being cruel to me in the court. The next week, I had to stay with the Aussian squad because the Spanish captain had to leave. There I was, without speaking any English, with the coach Ian Barclay and players like Cahill, Frawley, Minter, Randall and few others, and of course they had a great time made fun of me. However, with the signal language we start to understand each other and by the end of the trip we could communicate well enough, and I even got aware that they called me bull! From that trip and the experiences shared with that group of excellent guys, started my admiration for the Australians and their country.
Today, Australian tennis is struggling. However, I hope that with the leadership of another good friend of mine Tod Woodbridge and the work that he is currently doing with many other pros like Pata, Australia will return to the top of world tennis.
Can follow it live all the weekend at CNN International.