there was nothing to have a good time but”
Álex Corretja (Barcelona, 48 years previous) is likely one of the two Spanish tennis gamers who is aware of what it means to win the Masters, the event that brings collectively the eight better of the 12 months. The opposite is Manolo Orantes, who achieved it in 1976; and within the girls’s circuit Garbiñe Muguruza obtained it in 2021. Álex lifted the title in 1998 after overcoming Moyá, who had been his executioner within the duel for the Roland Garros title and gained the primary two units of that ultimate (3-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6 -3 and 7-5). Corretja turned quantity two on the planet in 1999 and on this interview, divided into two components, he talks about that triumph that introduced him glory, Nadal and Alcaraz, tennis and life generally. Other than commenting on matches on tv, he provides talks to individuals of all types: businessmen, sportswear corporations, bread corporations…
Does what tennis taught you apply to life generally?
All the things, the whole lot, the whole lot is what I’ve skilled in tennis. I didn’t do the selectivity or research a profession on the college, the one factor I’ve realized is on the observe and off it. All of the expertise I’ve in my life is from tennis after which I’ve put it into apply within the media, on TV, the radio, the press… That’s the reason I feel that typically we’ve got to open our minds rather more and transfer, as a result of that offers you a much wider imaginative and prescient of what life is generally, since you see all types of conditions, you may have skilled the nice and the unhealthy, you may have identified how one can be in very various conditions all through your profession, and particularly at very younger ages. On the finish of 16 years, in the event you practice 8 hours to be a tennis participant, that has to offer you an essential optimistic efficiency, whether or not or not you get to the place you wished, however even when you do not get it, the educational you might be having throughout that point of your life you may apply for the remainder of your private or skilled profession.
He talks about dwelling the nice and the unhealthy, is the nice factor to win or is it overrated?
Successful will not be overrated. I do not know if individuals lie, as a result of it isn’t proper to say that, however if you’re an elite athlete your purpose is to win. It’s apparent that later when time passes you understand that possibly not the whole lot is to win in life, as a result of when you are following that path you might be studying lots, however deep down your purpose is to grow to be the very best you might be. and attempt to succeed as a lot as attainable. You possibly can’t say: “No, I will Paris-Bercy and if I win two video games or 5 I do not care”. You do not care as a result of ultimately you need to win as many video games as attainable. It isn’t overrated as a result of what provides you essentially the most satisfaction is the sensation of successful, particularly at skilled ages. Now I begin enjoying and I’ve a really clear goal: primary is to not get injured. However I’m already 48 years previous, not 24 like once I was enjoying the Masters ultimate. It isn’t overrated, I misplaced the Roland Garros ultimate and I used to be very proud of my consequence, however what marks me for the remainder of my life is successful the Masters, not dropping the Roland Garros ultimate; however to win the Masters I needed to lose the Roland Garros ultimate. All the things is sort of a fixed studying course of, however you grow to be conscious a lot later, since you are very younger, with 20-22 years, with 19 that Alcaraz is now, when he seems to be again and is 35 or 36 years previous he’ll say: “Oyster, with 19 years I used to be primary on the planet. It is rather robust, it’s virtually a miracle.
As quickly as you cease to consider it, your head explodes.
After all, you aren’t very conscious as a result of deep down you might be concerned in that maelstrom and you might be satisfied that what you might be doing is regular as a result of it’s what you may have dreamed of, however your head would explode, as you say, in the event you cease to consider the individuals who comply with you, the tens of millions of people that comply with your sport, the tens of millions of followers around the globe who idolize you and see you as an actual star… However if you’re there you simply suppose: “What I’ve to do to win this match? How do I get well from this damage? You go no additional. The past you do if you become old.
What recollections do you may have of the 1998 Masters, the one you gained?
In the long run, the Masters is just like the event of pleasure, as a result of there are solely eight gamers who qualify. It is just like the circuit could be very aggressive, however for eleven months there are eight gamers who add up essentially the most factors to outline who’s the very best of the 12 months. For us as Spaniards, the reference was Roland Garros, logically, and the Masters was like a reward for the season, to your regularity. I had the sensation that that 12 months I nonetheless had one thing large to do: I had been on the gates at Roland Garros, we had made the Davis Cup semi-finals… And talking with Javier Duarte, my coach, he informed me the evening earlier than begin the event: “We nonetheless have this week left to do this large factor that you’ve got dreamed of all of your life”. And I informed him that the Masters was too large: indoor court docket, Agassi, Sampras, Moyá, Kafelnikov… And he replied: “Right here you may have all arrived in the identical situations, bodily it’s tough for there to be somebody who works greater than you, since you want that; On November 20, everybody could be very bodily and mentally affected and whoever is the strongest goes to win this event. It is apparent that Sampras has a method of play that’s higher suited to this floor than yours, but when that is the case, we’ll see if he is able to beating you, since you’ve additionally proven you can play properly on a quick court docket, as a result of your vanity is excessive. higher towards these gamers and you’ve got the expertise that you’re already a consolidated ‘high 10’, that you’ve got already performed a Grand Slam ultimate, the Davis semifinals… We’re going to go step-by-step and daily and that is it We’ll see the place we get to, however belief that we will go ahead with this”. And that’s the most nice reminiscence I’ve, that’s, pondering that I’m one among them, that I belonged there. As a result of it’s not a event that you’re the fiftieth and you might be shocking… You’ve gotten accomplished a complete 12 months to get there. It is a very choose group, you begin in January, and in November you are among the many high eight, then you definitely’re able to face them, with most of them you’ve got performed throughout the 12 months or on other surfaces, in other tournaments, typically you’ve got gained, other you may have misplaced… You’ve gotten the sensation of claiming that it’s not a present, that you’ve got entered there since you deserve it. The Masters is on the indoor court docket, I had had very unhealthy outcomes, besides in Lyon three weeks earlier than I used to be champion, and that event additionally gave me confidence: I’ve already gained a event on this floor, why should not I do it? repeat? Particularly the reminiscence of the focus: “No, not till I win this event I will not calm down”. I even beat Sampras, 7-6 the third, and I increase my arms somewhat bit and I do not do something.
He hardly even celebrates it.
You recognize why? At Roland Garros I get into the ultimate and I feel: “Man, I am within the Roland Garros ultimate and it is a milk prize”. And I lose to Moyá and I say: “From successful to dropping there’s an abysmal distinction”. After which when successful the semis of the Masters I say: “No, I’m not glad with this consequence, as a result of tomorrow I’ve my black beast of the 12 months, which is Moyá, whom I’ve not gained a set; If I waste the little vitality I’ve left on November 29 with celebrations and such, I am not going to face the ultimate properly”. It already occurred to me at Roland Garros, that Moyá was far superior to me and on high of that I used to be very conformist. And since I did not need it to occur once more, I mentioned: “No, no, watch out, here is nonetheless essentially the most tough match of my profession”. After I was ten years previous I educated 4 hours each day, after which I used to be 24, 14 years previous to get there, how am I going to calm down now? I’ve to grit my enamel, the whole lot I’ve labored for 14 years I’ve to place into apply in three hours within the subsequent recreation. That is why I do not calm down once I win the semis, I even kick my brothers and my pals out of my locker room, as a result of within the Masters everybody has their private locker room, I kick them out, they arrive in: “Come on, the ultimate, I do not know what” . And I inform them: “No, no, please, we screwed up at Roland Garros, everybody out, I do not even need to see you, go have a good time, I do not need to have a good time something till I win the event tomorrow”.
However he had simply crushed Sampras, the benchmark, primary. What was it like enjoying towards him?
It was an ordeal since you had a sense that 80 p.c of his serves have been gained with superb ease, and also you performed underneath nice stress on a regular basis together with your service and as quickly because it was 0-15, 15-30 you already suffered since you thought that you simply did not understand how you have been going to get him again in the event you misplaced a serve, as a result of when he obtained forward he was a steamroller. It’s true that due to types of play, I wore him down, made him run as a result of he put many balls inside, performed excessive on his backhand, which bothered him there; So I knew that we at all times performed very even matches, as a result of he performed my serves like he performed them going by means of the whole lot. He performed his providers, however the recreation or two of the set the place he obtained extra critical and extra strong made it very tough for you, since you mentioned: “He’s threatening me”; and also you felt it, possibly with 0-0 he would do a slice backhand to you and go into the online, and also you’d simply occur to a traditional man, however with him… Typically you seemed extra at him than on the ball itself and that made you play unhealthy. He was a really uncomfortable participant, who had for me the very best serve in historical past, possibly now we must see who has the very best serve, however his second was additionally outrageous, he was a cat within the web, the proper was very flat… It bothered you a large number.
And within the ultimate, Moyá, who additionally gained the primary two units and had defeated him 3 times in 1998: Monte Carlo, Roland Garros and the US Open.
Ten straight units I had misplaced with that 6-3, 6-3 Masters, and I simply clarify this within the talks: the most important distinction is that I used to be satisfied that I used to be going to combat till the tip it doesn’t matter what occurred and nonetheless going dropping, I felt that if I performed level to level and forgot in regards to the rating, I’d have an opportunity to show it round. It’s true that Carlos was very tough for me as a result of I may face up to the rallies from the bottom very properly, and he had a greater forehand, a greater serve and gained factors extra simply, which was tough for me, and I needed to always work on what they have been the rallies, and so on. He turned essentially the most tough opponent as a result of he knew me completely, he knew that my forehand was not even half nearly as good as his and though I performed very properly tactically, I lacked some energy to harm him, and that made it tough for me play towards him. Additionally it is true that enjoying on laborious court docket and indoor court docket helped me somewhat as a result of I compelled him somewhat extra, I performed him with the backhand lower to his backhand, which damage lots, however for me it was very laborious, as a result of I felt that enjoying towards me he was comfy. Simply as in earlier years I noticed that he lacked solidity to beat me, in 98 I felt that he took a step ahead and that it was not tough for him to play towards me. So I concentrated as a lot as attainable and mentioned: “I will play right here level by level till the tip, I do not care in regards to the rating”. That is why I had religion and bodily I knew that he was very ready and that he was going to endure no matter occurred. It’s certainly essentially the most tough recreation in my whole profession.