When we heard Nicolas Almagro would be giving tennis clinics to Casa de Campo’s youth we were quick to hop over to the courts at La Terraza Tennis Center— as were several children and teens ready to play, and families there to act as spectators. After all, it’s not everyday you get to play with the once-ranked #9 in the world tennis pro whose racked up 13 titles in his career, including the prestigious Davis Cup! Encouraged to visit the country by longtime friend and sports journalist for Protagonista at CDN SportsMax, Mario Emilio Guerrero, Almagro played in an exhibition match with Víctor Estrella in Santo Domingo on August 20th, and then came to Casa de Campo to get to know the resort’s world-class facilities and meet some dear fans.
Just in time for his 32nd birthday, Almagro took a few moments to relax in between his daily, rigorous training schedule. He dined with his wife at La Piazzetta last Monday, took her and his six-month old son to Catalina Island, and played a round of golf on the Teeth of the Dog. Casa de Campo Living had a brief chat with the Spanish pro before he departed for the US Open 2017.
How do you feel about your match against Víctor Estrella?
The match was fantastic; I think many people enjoyed it. Víctor is a really big star here, and for me it was amazing to be part of that kind of match— for the joy, the support, and the people.
Which of your wins over your career is most significant to you?
Every win is really special because it’s amazing to win a match, but I think the most important for me was against Nadal in Barcelona in 2014 in the quarter finals; he was the favorite to win and I beat him with my family and friends there. He was no.3 in the world and it was a great feeling.
What is it about clay courts that makes you prefer them above the rest?
I think because I’ve won all of my titles on that kind of surface. I was playing on it a lot when I was young, it’s the most common in Spain, and it’s easier for the ball bounce which is slower than on a hard court.
What was it like giving tennis clinics to Casa de Campo’s kids?
I enjoy playing with the kids because they’re the future. All the kids were smiling when we were on the court, and I think that’s one of the most important things in life. I try to be funny because they are trying to be part of my life, my sport, and I want to show them the nicest part of the game.
How do you maintain focus and concentration during a match?
Well, I try the whole time to be ready to fight, to be 100% focused on the match and to keep my mind clear. It’s really difficult, believe me. To be a professional in any sport you need to forget everything and be able to put all other thoughts to the side.
Do you like to play other sports?
I would like to play golf. I bought a really nice golf course a few months ago in Murcia, Spain, and I’m trying. It’s a difficult sport, but you are playing against yourself. You need to be really concentrated to beat yourself.
What is your mindset about tennis on and off the court?
When I’m on the court, I’m a tennis player, but when I’m off, I’m another kind of person, I don’t think about tennis. It’s something strange, but it’s my life. It’s the best way that I have to be 100% during my 15 years and I’m really happy with my career.
* Photography by Limbert Diaz