Coach in the Spotlight - Sergio Sabadello
As part of our regular 'Coach In The Spotlight' feature, we are holding a series of short interviews with prominent GPTCA members sharing their coaching success story. We have put Sergio Sabadello, our A level coach in the hot seat and asked some quick fire questions.
1. What is your current work in progress?
I am a Sport Director at Vilas Tennis Academy, designing and supervising programs as technical director for professional and junior players from 15 different countries. In the following weeks, I'm travelling to Russia to prepare the upcoming Davis Cup tie in which my team hosts Italy.
2. How did you begin coaching pro players? How long have you been coaching?
I began working with professional players in 1991, as an assistant to my father, who was a renowned coach in Argentina, and worked with a group of outstanding players. In 1994, Jose Luis Clerc hired me as a full-time coach with the idea of returning to the professional circuit. It was my first big professional experience.
3. What keeps you motivated to come to work each day and keep coaching through the years?
Definitely my passion for this sport. The adrenaline that comes with winning a game, match or tournament is unmatched. Also, being able to pass on my experience to players and train our coaches, the challenge of implementing a system of education and work based on a philosophy of many years.
4. What skills / characteristics do you look for in your players?
I look for obsession, humility, ambition and discipline. I consider those as core values to become a good tennis player.
5. What is the biggest challenge you've had as a coach and how did you overcome it?
During the Davis Cup World Group play-off, Russia against Spain, we were down 0-2. With the support of Captain Shamil Tarpishev, I selected Donskoy to play the fourth rubber against Tommy Robredo. Evgeniy won the match and forced the decider in which Andrey Rublev gave us the third point and victory.
6. What is your most successful coaching moment so far?
Undoubtedly, it was that comeback win. We had a two-week preparation for the tie. We beat Spain, after a 0-2 deficit, with lower-ranked players than our opponents. It was a great team work.
7. What advice would you give to new coaches?
I would give them a couple of advice: to seek opportunities to work with great coaches on court, even participating in practices with them and to demonstrate the same involvement with a pro player, junior, amateur or senior. With the aim to improve, each at their level. Also in my experience, I could apply the same tips I use with professionals at different levels. Punctuality and dedication of time exclusively to the player we are training. To be humble to learn and share.
8. What inspires your work?
Reaching goals daily. To continue the legacy of Guillermo Vilas and my father. Tennis has given me everything and it means everything to me.
9. What is your next goal?
My next goal is to win the upcoming Davis Cup play-off tie against Italy in September, and to help the next generation of Russian players.
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