Sorribes, to Eurosport: “I notice more respect from my rivals”

You’re Olympian, how does it sound?

Sounds good, sounds great. It sounds like a dream come true, something that made me very excited and something that I am enjoying a lot. In fact, until I got here I couldn’t believe it. There were moments during this last year where I did not want to hear anything about the Olympics because of the panic that I did not qualify for, all the emails that were arriving from the RFET were sent directly to Silvia. I preferred to be isolated, I knew that if I did not succeed in the end it would mean a very big stick, so I did not want to lose my way.

To what extent have you set yourself to get here?

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It was a 100% goal, being here was everything. Obviously, my main objective is always to improve and work every day, but I had had this dream in mind for a long time. As much as I like sport and how I live it, being in the Olympic Games was what I was most excited about.

Now that it is a reality, tell me how the conditions are going to be.

The ball bounces a lot, the court is not too fast, what it does is very hot and very humid. It is what it is, but it is impossible for me to complain or get something wrong, I am very happy to be here.

I was going to ask you if you would prefer it to be a clay court tournament but, looking at your results this season …

In fact, this year the worst results have come on clay. I think the options are to play well and compete better in the important moments. My game may do more damage on clay, but here everything is very even, if I compete and play as I have been doing so far, I think I can play good games.

Did your improvement come from being competitive on all surfaces?

When you improve, you improve everywhere. That was always my intention, although I am aware that I still have a lot of things to improve, I have always been faithful to that path. I want to be more aggressive, reach the net more times and do more damage to my rivals. That in the end shows wherever you play.

You are the queen of long matches, do you enjoy spending so much time on the court?

The good part about this is that I love doing everything with maximum intensity. I like to be 100% from the first ball in each training, that is the best way to take advantage of every moment and be prepared for whatever comes. It is not because I do more or do it better, it is simply because of a philosophy of giving everything every day, that is what then leads you to take one more step and overcome that limit.

Little do you get a reputation as a tough player, a bone to avoid, do you notice?

The other day training with Carla, he told me: ‘I don’t know who he’s going to play you with, but he’s going to get the potato.’ I don’t know, really, everyone tries to hide it, but I do notice a little more respect than before. Perhaps at certain moments of the match my rivals realize that they have to do a little more, they see you tougher, they are small details.

It’s your first Olympic Games, what has caught your attention the most?

What I like the most is that all athletes are treated equally. No one here knows anyone, everyone goes to his own ball, it is not like in tennis where we all know each other and you are more aware of certain things. It doesn’t matter here, no one is going to look at you or get to know you, and I like to be discreet is something that I love. The Villa seems to me something extraordinary, it is like a small city, everything is very beautiful.

Have you shared any moment with athletes from another discipline?

I was lucky enough to share the flight with Alba Torrens (women’s basketball) and the time I was able to speak with her I learned a lot. Just for that conversation I already feel that I have won, that is something that I already take away from here.

You will also play doubles with Paula Badosa, your best friend on the circuit.

It’s incredible, I remember having conversations with her when we were 15 years old and wondering: can you imagine playing doubles together at the Olympics? Well, the end has been fulfilled, although we have been channeling it little by little, so that our heads do not go away. It is being very nice to share this experience with her, and we also share a room.

Are you already clear on the tactic?

We have tried to play two tournaments together, although we already knew each other for many, many years. On the track, however, we had not met for a long time. The feelings are good, we have played good games, the best thing is that just by looking at each other we already know what the other thinks, that is very important in doubles.

What does it mean to you to represent Spain?

A lot of. It means a lot because I still remember following the Olympics as a child and saying, ‘I want to be there. I remember getting up very early to watch any sport, that’s a part that I love. Whenever I have had the opportunity to represent Spain I have done it, and it has always given me goose bumps.

Win a Grand Slam or an Olympic medal?

Medal, no doubt. I don’t think there are many tennis players who think the same.

Adding both tables there are almost 90 casualties, why?

It’s a different year, a different Olympic Games, we’ve had to go through a lot of things to get here. The fact that being here we cannot go to enjoy other sports changes everything, so it is understandable that some tennis players have chosen to play other tournaments. It goes beyond a topic of passion or country, I would say it is more related to COVID and restrictions.

In the Spanish women’s team, however, you are all.

We are all very excited, we have created a great team atmosphere. They have been some incredible days, spending all the time together, the truth is that it is being very pleasant. Hopefully later it will also be noticed later in the games.

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