Emilio Sanchez Exclusive: One Loss That Destroyed His ‘Winning Will’ And The Match That Could Have Changed Roger Federer’s career - UBITENNIS
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Emilio Sanchez Exclusive: One Loss That Destroyed His ‘Winning Will’ And The Match That Could Have Changed Roger Federer’s career

In an exclusive video interview the two-time French Open doubles champion believes the Federer-Nadal rivalry could have been a lot different if one particular match had gone another way.

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Emilio Sánchez (photo Barbara Crimaudo)

‘I never had a chance like that to excel in a grand slam’ was the words that came from the mouth of Emilio Sanchez as he looks back on one of his hardest losses. The Spanish tennis star turned coach speaks to Ubitennis about his career and the current state of the game.

 

54-year-old Sanchez, who is the brother of former world No.1 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, was a top player throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In singles he peaked at a high of seventh in the world and won 15 titles with the most prestigious being at the 1991 Italian Open. In doubles he reached the top of the rankings back in 1989 and was best known for his collaboration with Sergio Casal with whom he won 45 out of his 50 Tour titles with. Overall, he scored eight wins over No.1 players, but it was the losses Sanchez remembers the most. Especially one that occurred in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

“As a player you always have this mindset where you always think you are going to play them again and beat them again. The win in Rome against (Mats) Wilander or other big wins that I had were very good,” he told Ubitennis.
“But you don’t remember so much the wins. You remember more the important losses. I played a match against (John) McEnroe at the Australian Open. I was two sets up and then he came back. I was then 6-5, 40-15, up (in the final set) and at that moment I made my first double fault of the match. I lost 8-6.’
“I remember that match because it destroyed my winning will. I said to my coach that I should quit. He asked me why and I said because I will not win a grand slam.’
“I never had a chance like that to excel in a grand slam.”

Sanchez is not the first player to have missed a golden opportunity and he will not be the last. Another is Roger Federer, who failed to convert two match points against Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final. Although the Spaniard believes it is another match that had a massive impact on the Swiss Maestro’s career.

During the 2006 Italian Open, Federer looked on course to victory and was a point away from holding a 5-2 lead in the decider before nemesis Rafael Nadal broke back. Then the former world No.1 saw two match points come and go before losing to his rival, who was just 19 at the time.

“In that match the type of game he played was perfect for him to adapt his game to the clay. So he did everything perfectly on the physical, tactical, technical and mental side but when that key moment arrived he tried to overdo it and on the clay it doesn’t allow you to do that,” Sanchez reflected on Federer’s loss.
“He tried to overplay those two match points and then Rafa came out from that and had the confidence. He (Rafa) also went on to beat him in Paris (French Open). If Federer made one of those points, what happened after could have changed things completely in his career because after that it took him a while before he was challenging Nadal on clay again.”

The two players along with Novak Djokovic form the prestigious Big Three of the sport. A trio who dominance includes at least one of them winning 52 out of the past 60 grand slam tournaments. According to Sanchez, there is one key thing to their reign in the sport.

“The important points for those players are the return because normally they hold their serve very easily. Where they are better is that they are able to break their opponent once every three or four games,” he explains. “On top of returning well what they do is take away the initiative (from their rivals). With Nadal when he takes away the initiative he is the one who is not going to allow you to do anything. With that he is the best.”

After stepping away from the Tour, Sanchez remains involved in tennis through his work at the prestigious ASC Sanchez-Casal academy. Which he co-founded with his former doubles partner back in 1998. It has been a training base for some of the world’s best players including Andy Murray, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Grigor Dimitrov. The academy operates in Barcelona as well as both America and China.

“When I put the academy in place I realised that we had to make this like a system. I wrote all the exercises and videos about how we became players and through time I made that system much broader.” He explains.
“The thing I like about my academy is that when I ask players like Andy Murray or Grigor Dimitrov what they remember they don’t remember the forehand or the serve. They remember the hard work, effort and respect. You can’t ask for more.’
“I think this is the biggest legacy of our academy. We left some of the most intrinsic and important values for them (our students) to become whatever they do.”

The former Davis Cup captain also discusses the current state of American tennis. A country that once had 40 top 100 players on the ATP Tour when he began his career, but now struggles to have more than 10. What has led to this dramatic change?

Ubitennis’ full interview with Sanchez can be watched below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Todd Martin To UbiTennis: “Ubaldo, Come Work For Me!”

A former world N.4 and a two-time Slam finalist, the American was known as “Marathon Man” due to his tally of nine wins from two sets down. Now the CEO of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, he joined Ubaldo and Steve Flink to talk about his career, Pete Sampras in Davis Cup and the prospects of the game in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

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UbiTennis brings you the latest instalment in a series of exclusive interviews with many relevant figures in the world of tennis. This time the guest was Todd Martin, while Steve Fink (who was inducted into the Hall of Fame when Todd was already in charge) completed the usual line-up.

 

Martin recorded 411 wins on the ATP Tour, won 8 titles over the course of his career (out of 20 finals), and enjoyed two stints as president of the Player Council between 1995 and 1999. Despite Wimbledon statistically being his strongest Slam, his best runs came at the 1994 Australian Open and at the 1999 US Open, where he finished runner-up to Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, respectively.

The chat happened at a momentous time, coming on the heels of the cancellation of all tournaments up to July 31, including his own grass event in Rhode Island – a double blow for the event, since the celebration for the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, Conchita Martinez and Goran Ivanisevic, was also called off. However, he didn’t shy away from these unfortunate, albeit expected, news, using instead the opportunity to talk about the situation of the tennis tours as a whole.

Video schedule

00: Introduction and career achievements

2:42: Todd reminisces about the two Slam finals he lost, outlining his growth as a player: “Pete let you outplay him for a while, but then…”

8:52: Comments on Sampras’s retirement and which one his best season was: “I’m not sorry about his retirement, he killed me every time!” Is the peak of a player defined by ranking or by performance?

12:16: Ubaldo and Steve Flink’s relationship with notepads and a very timely scoop at Flushing Meadows…

15:16: The victorious doubles match in the 1995 Davis Cup final with Sampras. Would he rather play at home or away?

22:23: The Marathon Man, finishing at 1:22 in the morning and high-fiving the crowd in the Arthur Ashe stadium at the US Open after two comebacks a year apart from each other: “Physically, I’m here. Would you like to know where I am metaphysically?”

26:05: That Wimbledon semifinal against Washington in ‘96. Could he have won the final against Krajicek? “Tennis is like business: speculation is bad, and it was a distraction then as it is now. Put it this way: I’d have played Krajicek or Washington in a Slam final rather than Sampras!” Also, why he didn’t win more titles.

30:42: The Davis Cup tie against Rafter: “If somebody can come back against me, why on Earth wouldn’t I be able to come back against them?”

36:26: More Davis Cup, this time against Italy in Milwaukee, as Ubaldo chuckles chauvinistically. Remember Davide Sanguinetti?

38:58: To be the boss in Newport where he debuted as a professional, and the sacred trinity of US tournaments that were hallmarks of his career: “Why would you ever let Steve Flink get into the Hall of Fame?” Ubaldo typically jokes, smiling, about  his beloved American friend who of course is a much deserved Hall of Famer pushing Todd Martin to laugh.  “Hey Steve isn’t Ubaldo attacking you too much? Fight him back!”

42:44: How the cancellation of Newport happened and the vulnerability of the game’s business.

47:36: Should we try to play with no fans in the stands or should we wait for next year? “Sports weren’t meant to be public events, but they’ve grown to become so central in our lives. I’d like to see tennis active, but not at the risk of health or of challenging businesses to survive even more than now.”

49:50: Congratulations to the swiftness with which Newport is moving to refund tickets, especially as others are not letting go of the cash as quickly…

53:30: The logistics of tennis behind closed doors. “Travelling restrictions are the first of many challenges we are facing.”

56:51: “Having a tournament and then nothing for four weeks isn’t what we need, we have to accept that some decisions will be made that won’t be good for us from a business standpoint, but might be good for the sport as a whole. We need to remember that this is a tour.”

1:00:40: Todd for commissioner? “Not a good idea! However, I believe that having a commissioner for the sport would be a good experiment. Necessity could force us to finally unite.” How the power has shifted towards the Player Council since his days as President.

1:05:45: Are you in touch with new ATP Chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi? “I really like his vision, if we can approach the idea of unifying the stakeholders from a commercial point of view, then we will be able to do so in terms of governance as well.”

1:07:46: The situation in Rhode Island. Trivia: who is his British pal who also excels as a golf player?

1:12:06: How do so many players still do well in their 30s? Sports science and…

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Make sure you check out Ubitennis’ other interviews big names from the world of tennis:-

Emilio Sanchez: One Loss That Destroyed His ‘Winning Will’ And The Match That Could Have Changed Roger Federer’s career

Raymond Moore On Playing During The Apartheid Era And Why Indian Wells Shouldn’t Be Played In 2020

Why Rod Laver Wanted To Kill Martin Mulligan at Wimbledon

 

Tennis Like “The Godfather”: Seven Families Fighting For Power (Video-Interview With Mary Carillo)

 

Patrick McEnroe: “Had I beaten John, he would have stopped talking to me!”

Article text written by Tommaso Villa

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Patrick McEnroe speaks to UbiTennis: “Had I beaten John, he would have stopped talking to me!”

Patrick McEnroe beat 13 Top 10 players throughout his career, reaching the 28th spot in the ATP Rankings. Now a brilliant sports-caster, he is currently confined to his basement after being infected by the Coronavirus. In an exclusive video-chat, he talks about his new podcast and reminisces over his time as Davis Cup captain, and his memory is rife with anecdotes about Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, and of course his brother John.

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Patrick and John McEnroe (photo Art Seitz)

UbiTennis has been talking to some of the most eminent figures in the game. In the latest instalment, Ubaldo interviews Patrick McEnroe – a singles title won out of four finals, with a best ranking of N.28 in the world – and is joined by their mutual friend and colleague Steve Fink, a member of the Hall of Fame.

 

McEnroe tested positive to Covid-19, but has recovered and now feels a lot better, while still self-isolating in his New York home. Notoriously, Patrick is John McEnroe’s younger brother. Over the course of his career, he defeated 13 Top 10 players (including former and future ones): Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic (these two are the only ones who were actually among the best when he beat them), Richard Krajicek, Jimmy Connors, Alex Corretja, Brad Gilbert, Thomas Enqvist, Wayne Ferreira, Guy Forget, Henri Leconte, Andrei Chesnokov, Mikael Penfors and Marc Rosset. However, he never managed to get a win against his sibling, who held a 3-0 head-to-head record against him. Particularly notable is his semifinal run in the 1991 Australian Open, surviving a five-setter against an Italian, Cristiano Caratti, before bowing out against tournament winner Becker after winning the opening tie-break.

 

Video schedule

  • Minute 00:00: Patrick talks about self-isolation in his New York home after testing positive for Covid-19.
  • 08:00: He reminisces about defeating Italian Cristiano Caratti in the quarter finals of the 1991 Australian Open, coming up with the quote of the year during the press conference. His career is summarised.
  • 11:00 / 14:00 – McEnroe vs Becker and why he beat him twice.
  • 16:00 – The famous US Open 1st round match against Jimmy Connors all’US Open ‘91, and how his daughter still taunts his about how things went down that day.
  • 17:20 – “John didn’t want me to train with Connors!
  • 19:00 – “I was invited to a wedding that weekend, and I was forced to watch Connors on TV, taking the stage that could have been mine.”
  • 18:20: Patrick is facing John in the Chicago final, when a phone rings: “Dad, mum’s calling!”
  • 21:00 / 24:00 – He and Hlasek face Korda and John in the Basel final… John tells Korda to serve to Patrick’s forehand, but… after that match John wouldn’t talk to Patrick for a while…
  • 24:00 – More Chicago: “Had I won, John wouldn’t have talked to me for God knows how long. I won the first set…
  • 25:00 – Gianni Clerici said: “I’m not gay, but John’s volleying touch is so delicate…”
  • 26:00 – Patrick talks about his podcast, “Holding court with Patrick McEnroe”.
  • 26:00 / 30:00 – Is it harder to partner John on-court or in the press-box? His brother’s great team spirit.
  • 30:00 / 36:00 –His tenure as Davis Cup captain. His anecdotes on Sampras, Agassi, Roddick, Blake. His sole home-soil defeat against Croatia and how it is to work with the USTA.
  • 36:00 / 42:00 – How he managed to be a captain for a decade (more than anybody else) while John only lasted a year and a half. How to get along with the players without treating each of them the same way.
  • 41:00 / 47:00 – His podcast with tennis-loving celebrities, such as Alec Baldwin and Ben Stiller.
  • 47:00 – Patrick’s predictions on resuming play.
  • 48:00 / 52:00 – “I’d have the US Open behind closed doors if it were possible.” Which is likelier, that the French Open or Flushing Meadows will actually happen?

McEnroe is the latest in a series of tennis stars to have spoken with UbiTennis during the Tour shutdown. Previous interviews include discussing how tennis is like The Godfather with Mary Carillo, why Rod Laver wanted to kill Martin Mulligan and why cancelling Indian Wells was the right move in the view of owner Ray Moore. UbiTennis also learned about the match that destroyed the ‘winning will’ of Emilio Sanchez

 

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic And Andy Murray Discuss Regrets And Their ‘Perfect Player’

During an Instagram live chat between the two tennis stars, world No.1 Djokovic reflects on his ‘biggest career regret.’

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Continuing the trend inaugurated by Stan Wawrinka and Benoit Paire and their “Instagram Happy Hour,” current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and the No. 1 of 2016 Andy Murray entertained the world of tennis with a one-hour public chat on Instagram.

 

https://twitter.com/josemorgado/status/1251219499585544194

The two touched on several topics, including the definition of the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) and the shot-by-shot composition of the ideal player in their eyes.

Here are the choices of the two champions:

Novak Djokovic
Service: Nick Kyrgios
Return: Andy Murray
Forehand: Juan Martin del Potro
Backhand: Andy Murray
Volleys: Roger Federer
Mental Strength: Rafael Nadal
Physical preparation: David Ferrer

Andy Murray
Service: John Isner
Return: Novak Djokovic
Forehand: Rafael Nadal
Backhand: Novak Djokovic
Volleys: Roger Federer
Mental Strength: Rafael Nadal
Physical preparation: Novak Djokovic (or Gael Monfils)

As for the definition of GOAT, if Djokovic does not want to compare different generations, Murray immediately contracts him saying “there is no need, the three best players are all of the same generation.”

The Serbian then revealed that his biggest career regret concerns the Olympics: “ In 2008 at Beijing, although I won the bronze medal, in the semifinal with Rafa I lost a very hard game, also making a pretty easy smash on an important point. Also in Rio 2016, I felt great, I was having the best 15 months of my career. I had lost in the third round at Wimbledon, so I had plenty of time to prepare, I had won in Canada, and I lost in the first round … “ Murray tried to cheer him up immediately by reminding him that he had a very tough draw, having to meet Juan Martin del Potro in the first round who then lost to Murray in the final.

“Then also during the London 2012 semifinal against you and also the final of the US Open, the same year: I missed another very easy smash.” Djokovic continued.

But Murray again offered an excuse: “It was very windy that evening, come on … “.

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