Fans enjoyed a morning of talks regarding the so called “white sport” with different personalities such as Patrick Mouratoglu, Matteo Berrettini and Frances Tiafoe.
Acapulco, February 25th, 2023.– The Tennis Talks were held as a kick-off event for the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC. On Saturday, February 25th, prior to the start of the XXX edition of the ATP 500 in Acapulco, several personalities met at the Princess Hotel-Resort to talk more in depth about their experiences on and off the court, as well as topics such as mental training.
Players Matteo Berrettini, Feliciano López, Frances Tiafoe, coach Patrick Mouratoglou and Mexican junior Rodrigo Pacheco were present in front of some lucky fans and practitioners of the sport who were able to meet and listen in another context to professionals of the sport.
Patrick Mouratoglou, who coached Serena Williams for a decade (2012-2022) and currently works with world No. 10 Holger Rune, whom he met at his academy, was the first star guest at the Tennis Talks and revealed what he sees in young Dane.
“I saw a player who is extremely motivated and believes in himself a lot. He has big dreams and really believes in them. That’s the difference. Many have dreams, but few really believe in them. Some have that extra something that makes them different and Holger has it. He has this great ability to win,” the coach noted during the session.
On the other hand, with all the experience that supports him as one of the most recognized coaches within the women’s and men’s tour, he gave his position on the mental work on the players.
“Our job is not to give tennis lessons, it’s to make the players succeed, to win and have a the approach to the game, the mental part, is a big part of that.
Fitness is necessary but it’s not the most important thing, the mental aspect makes all the difference. It’s my job and I wouldn’t use a psychologist because I wouldn’t be doing my job,” Mouratoglu said.
“You spend more time with your coach than with your partner. He is the person who knows you best” added Feliciano López, who presented the Tennis Talks together with journalist Carolina Guillen.
Another who was also present at the second session, was the Italian Matteo Berrettini, who finds in his family his greatest emotional and mental support to be a professional in this sport “Tennis is something that is in our blood, my grand parents were playing, when I was born and they left me a racket. When I started playing at the age of four I didn’t like it, I had practiced swimming, judo and soccer, until my brother started playing and I liked it. At the end family is very important.”
Regarding working the mental aspect with a professional he has a different stance. “It depends a little bit on the person and the relationship there is with your coach. Sometimes it’s very difficult to have a lot of people on the team, it’s more pressure. It’s something you can try but that doesn’t solve all your problems. There have been very ugly days, when you don’t want to play and you wonder why?, but in the end that’s life. If you do something you don’t like in the end it’s going to be very hard, to keep going” he said.
The current No. 22 also revealed how it’s to compete against a family member, his brother Jacopo is in Acapulco to play doubles: “It’s not easy, when you have a brother you want the best possible for him, but in the end we love each other very much and the relationship is strong. I play tennis because of him and I’m happy to play together”.
On the other hand, US Open 2022 semifinalist Frances Tiafoe was on board to share his story, marked by his upbringing as the son of Sierra Leonean migrant parents in the United States and as an African-American in a sport where barriers continue to break down.
“Yes, I believe a sport can do everything. It can bring people together, everyone loves entertainment. I believe tennis can change the world, there are many stories with different contexts, so yes,” stated Tiafoe.
Finally, Rodrigo Pacheco, who will make his debut in the main draw of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC at the age of 17, shared his story as part of a new batch of Mexican talent and about what it’s like to start his career on the circuit, un like Feliciano López, who has decided to put aside his racquet at 41 and is having his last appearance in Acapulco.
“When Wimbledon ended I had the feeling that the time had come. There will always be fear for what comes after something I’ve done for 20 years, but it was clear to me that I wanted to retire,” the Spaniard confessed.
On the other side of the scale, Pacheco also confessed how difficult it was to decide as a family to pursue a professional tennis career. “It was a complicated decision, I already wanted to drop school, but my parents told me I had to complete my studies, I trained and passed and did home schooling and finished in December.” The complete Talks can be found on the Star+ streaming platform.