By Emilio Sánchez Vicario, CEO & Founder at Sánchez-Casal Academy

#21 The last habit is inside you, so work on the fire in your belly, which will drive you to pass from the Actual State of Mind to the Ideal State of Mind. Then, you will be best equipped to achieve your highest goals (Passion).

Everything that happens has a reason: some people call it ‘destiny’, others ‘energy’, some people call it ‘luck’, and others, ‘bad luck’. I think I’m fortunate to live life how I choose. I carry with me my principles and values, and I am that way partly thanks to my parents, thanks to the education they provided me, some key people that became role models in my life but mainly thanks to tennis, which shaped my character and made me resilient to adversity.

21 Emilio playing

Tennis has always showed me how to play matches as best as I could that day, taught me how to analyze my actual state, compete to reach my ideal state or perform at the best version of myself. Nowadays, I apply this learning to other important matters, as my kids, my wife, my friends, any by doing so I’ve got good results as the ones I got with tennis.

When you learn and create a habit in the process of self-analysis, find out what your comfort zone is and step forward to get out of it and give your best, when problems arise you will be able to play the match much better. But one day when you least expect it ADVERSITY will come, merciless, devastating, sweeping everything away and you will have to learn how to come out of it stronger than ever before. That’s why I decided to write these 21 stories. There are many ways to play a match: complaining, arguing, fighting, or giving in to the moment and giving the best you can.

We all have it (Adversity), following us, bugging us, hanging around. I don’t know if I am different from the others, but I’m sure that tennis – this monotonous sport, sometimes boring, always demanding – has given me the ability to fight adversity when it appears using the tools I learned, organizing them, putting in the necessary energy and enthusiasm to reach my goal.

Living abroad was a tough but necessary decision; I felt overwhelmed and was losing almost all the most important games I played. That trip in itself was a very tough match – one day I will explain more about it in a book (which my good friend and partner Koki advised me to write). Leaving Spain did not solve my problems: trying to settle abroad I lost my brother-in-law, my friend Victor, Antonio, the director and soul of the Academy in Barcelona, Santiago, my confidant, friend and career advisor, and lastly, my father. It was one setback after another. I also left behind key people in my life and felt both life and work disappointments.

Professionally it has been a period of hard decisions, cutbacks, and difficulties. We reached the pinnacle of tennis and education, but competing against all the great academies here in the United States has been a hard battle. Meanwhile, the creation of new and more highly recognized academies in Europe has forced us to leave our comfort zone and improve. Nevertheless, this process has been a positive one and the support of my family, friends and colleagues have given me the balance and strength to fight, move forward, compete, and advance.


“In the end, competing is what counts, and if we compete doing our best we will all be winners, regardless of the game’s result.”

Severiano, who also left us, always said in his particular way of speaking that in order to succeed, you need 4 things: heart, mind, condition, and balls (meaning courage). At the Sanchez-Casal Academy we call it the pillars of competition: technical, tactical, physical and mental. It’s doesn’t matter what we call it: if you apply these four elements, you can reach your ideal state of competition and cope with any rival or competition. The result doesn’t matter, the most important thing is to give everything you’ve got. I’ve never seen anyone criticizing a player who lost if they gave their best.

As you read in the previous article dedicated to Casper Fernandez, I recently visited him at the hospital and once again he gave me an important lesson: my matches compared to his are nothing. Adversities have stacked up against him, but instead of getting him down, he is staying strong – fighting, filling the room with his smile and creating the ISC with his close people around him. He’s doing the best he can and he will win this match against Adversity. Right now he is giving us a lesson of strength and sportsmanship.

Sergio (Casal) and I have just received the ITF Philippe Chatrier Award, an accolade that makes us deeply proud of all these years at the service of a sport that has given us everything.

Philippe Chatrier World Champions 5

This is all for now, I hope I connected with your fight against adversity thorough these articles series, in the same way that these 21 people or personal experiences connected with me. My final message is that we cannot do anything to eliminate adversity, but we can get ready every day so that when it comes comes, we will be able to deal with it and, if possible, grow with it.


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Emilio Sánchez Vicario
CEO & Founder at Sánchez-Casal Academy








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