In the year 2000, I was lucky enough to get the job as Physical director at the Sanchez Casal Tennis Academy in Barcelona, Spain. It was a huge responsibility for me at the time as I was young for the role, in such a world renown premier club.
It started me on a journey that has led to many many highlights in my life. But I am not here to talk about myself! I am here to talk about building relationships.
How when you communicate effectively, have mutual respect and care for each other, friendships are forged, results come and as you will see opportunities arise.
As a parent, coach or player, if you are not focused on these areas, there will be plenty of dead end relationships and no one wants to waste time and energy right?
I want to tell you about an experience I had with a player I worked with starting back in 2000.
Carlos Cuadrado was a young Spanish prodigy when I laid eyes on him, he was already labelled a top 10 player at the age of 16. He was on the rise and it was my job to help him get to the top.
Working with Carlos was a dream. He had all the physical and mental aspects needed to learn, apply himself and work hard. His physical progress was rapid.
Having won the Junior French Open (The only junior event he ever played) Carlos was the youngest player in the top 200 when he was 17.
We all knew the sky was the limit, but I could see some cracks appearing and looking back now, Carlos knew there were too……
As well as working hard tennis training, we also worked on building a strong relationship. I showed interest in his life away from tennis and he spent time educating me on Spanish life. I feel this enabled me to get more out of him as an athlete as he always wanted to give me his best.
So why haven’t you seen Carlos in the ATP top 10. Injury after injury drove his potential into the ground and squashed his dreams. To be honest, I feel he was mis managed physically from a young age.
Too much volume and not enough care and off court physical management. It was a classic case of pushing a talented kid too far. If we both knew then what we do now, maybe things could have been different.
Luckily guys like Carlos have gone on to become world class coaches and have a different approach. More rounded and holistic.
After multiple surgeries and attempted comebacks, Carlos hung up the playing racket and soon took up the role of a coach. He knew he wanted to expand his horizons and with the two of us having a close bond, he decided to come to Australia for a visit.
It had been several years since we had seen each other, but we always stayed in contact.
Carlos started coaching at local clubs in Australia and soon rose up the ranks. It was not long before he found his way on the WTA tour, working with Daniella Hantuchova and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Both top 20 players at the time.
Working his way back to Australia, Carlos was offered a coaching job with Tennis Australia as a touring pro coach which he did for several years. He now consults to coaches, clubs and players around the world.
The discussions we have had over the years lead me to the conclusion, that although Carlos didn’t reach the top 10, he has had a positive impact on many people and is highly regarded as a coach and mentor.
I remember a few years back at the Australian Open, walking into the gym and seeing him there with some players he was working with, he had his Tennis Australia uniform on.
I thought to myself “Wow who would have thought 15 years ago, I would see this guy here” I am glad I have been a part of his journey. More importantly, I am glad that we built a solid relationship that has seen the test of time.
For this reason, we have asked Carlos to join our Tennis Fitness team, as our online coach (online coaching programs), tennis mentor and advisor.
I would have never thought looking back now how or first connection, the respect we had for each other and the time we spent working hard, would have led to this chapter.
Very excited and honoured to have this guy on board!!!
To watch the interview, I did with Carlos, click video above.
If you want insight into the journey of a top player and coach, It’s definitely worth a watch.