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13th September
written by kat

original article from – translated by kat
13 September 2004
Because of the China Open, I had the chance to meet JC. JC is a quiet person which earned him the title of “gentleman of tennis” (?) But once we started chatting he is quite easygoing. He can passionately talk to you about other (older) spanish players while also lovingly miss his girlfriend in Spain. When we talked about this year’s US Open, he was rather quiet, but he said this with conviction, “Maybe this trip to Beijing will give me a chance.”
First night in Beijing was pretty good
When I met JC yesterday he looked refreshed, clearly he had been cleared of jetlag. “I slept very well yesterday, almost 10 hours. I have recovered now. I guess I’ve gotten used to the life of constant travelling.” JC said.
JC’s stay at Beijing had been carefully planned by the China Open officials. He’s staying at a special suite at the Shangri-La, where they have great food. JC is enjoying it all, “everything is great. I was only yearning for a hot shower but you guys have been great to me. The 1st night in Beijing was very good.”
Already adapted to Chinese courts
JC started practicising on the day he arrived. For “clay court specialist” JC, it is not unusual to take notice of court conditions. This is because if the courts are fast, it would not be advantageous to clay courters. After practicising a bit with Garcia-Lopez, JC was happy with the court conditions.
As a professional tennis player JC knew a bit about the materials that the courts were made of. “Your centre court does not have many layers of rubber (?), so the court is not very fast, but not slow. The bounce is good. Even though this is different to the courts in US Open, this is a very good court.”
Because his old friend Moya was still recovering from jetlag, JC had been practicising with Garcia-Lopez for the past couple of days. JC had a lot of praise for this Spanish youngster, ranked 116 in the world. “We have not known each other for very long, but I believe he is very talented. Very soon the world will know his name.” JC really has faith in his compatriot, and said to the reporter, if you want an interview with Garcia-Lopez, JC can arrange this.
My opponents are also my friends
Even though this is his 1st time in Beijing, JC does not feel like a stranger here. “There are many Spanish speaking players in this tournament, Moya is an old friend, also Nalbandian, even my friend Garcia-Lopez is here. The advantage of having friends here is that it will be easy to find hitting partners.” JC said. When he is with friends this “gentleman of tennis” will not be quiet anymore. “The thing I like the most is spending time with friends. When US Open ended I went back to Madrid to spend time with friends. It was a very good way to relax.”
But ultimately his friends can also be his opponents. JC said, “Every Spanish player is a good friend of mine. Maybe it’s because we practice together often we know a lot about each other. So winning/losing in matches is very normal. Moya & I… whoever can play best on the day has the chance to win.”
My father brought me to tennis
JC didn’t want to talk much about his results. But when talking about how there were many top Spanish players, he felt very proud of this. He is also very grateful to his father, who brought him to the tennis world. “Do you know why there are many top Spanish players? It is because in Spain, many likes to play tennis. My father played pretty well too. Even though we didn’t have a tennis court at home, my father would take me to the public courts. He said I was very talented. He also said I could play very well by the time I was 7 years old. Then I went to a tennis school for 3 years, and started playing on the junior tour.” Then JC continued with pride, “I have checked this, at the school where i have graduated, no other students have achieved what I have achieved. I was the only success story out of all those students. It is quite unbelievable.”
JC had some advice for Chinese players, “Every year you will gain experience, then you will feel more comfortable. You will know how to handle difficult situations and win points. If you can do this, you can relax when you are on court. I think in this condition you are at your best for the match.”
Will holiday in Madrid when the season finishes
When summing up his results this year (especially his results on hard courts), JC felt quite happy about it. “I played pretty well this year on hard courts, hopefully I can improve more next year.” After China Open, JC will prepare for Davis Cup and also the Masters Series events. The season will end in December. That might seem far away, because when we asked JC how he wil use this time, he thought for a long time. Then he smiled and said, “I haven’t thought about it! I guess I will holiday in Madrid.”

*Original article (in Chinese) can be found here*

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