INTERVIEW: “In Spain they valued me for my resilience”


Sara Errani’s coaching-on-court with Pablo Lozano @Dubai Duty Free Championships

While in Dubai, fighting for the biggest achievement of her Singles career, our Sara Errani met with TENNISTOPIC to discuss tennis’ major issues, her current season and her sports feelings within this interview. 

Q: Do you consider yourself more worthy to be on top comparing to your colleagues due to your style of play?

ERRANI: Absolutely not, I don’t. I don’t know if I’m actually more worthy than other players, what is important to me it’s just believe in what I do. I do believe there’s a reason if I am able to get some kind of achievement related to my style of play, nevertheless, it’s not for me to say. Each player has her/his own style and peculiarities for which they have deserved what they have achieved or not so far.

Q: What do you think is your best virtue?

ERRANI: My best virtue is my resilience, the acceptance of suffering, to struggle.

Q: What about your worst flaw or lack?

ERRANI: Having not enough confidence in myself sometimes.

Q: Is now one of those times?

ERRANI: Yes, it is. And I’m going to answer to this question relating strictly to this moment. This year is a tough one for me, but 2015 has been even tougher. See, there are too many variables in tennis. You can experience streaks of time like 2012-2013 has been for me. It felt like nothing could go wrong, so that let me be calm and focused on court all the times. On the other hand you may feel completely discouraged, so that everything becomes more difficult than it actually is. What is left for you to do in those moments? The acceptance to struggle.

Q: Serve is not the strong point in your game, nevertheless you managed to downplay it and minimize this disdvantage.

ERRANI: Tennis is a give and take game. I need to balance what I leave on court being better in other things or playing smart. At the end of the day, you can tell I got one of the best in-serve statistics on tour, if not the best. However, despite of that balance paying off, I have decided to change my serve a little bit: last year I was forced to start hitting the ball using  the shortest motion due to some chronic pain that constantly bothers my right shoulder, so just before playing in Dubai me and my coach decided to give it a try and get back to using the full motion. Actually, we do not know if it is going to work  for my shoulder. Of course the pain will always remain, but we are trying to figure out where the limit point exactly stands.

Q: You won the Career Grand Slam in Doubles, nonetheless, your Singles achievements are oustanding. Which one do you take most pride in?

ERRANI: I’m proud of both, I am still playing, though. These are the kind of thoughts one wants to take into consideration once their career it’s over. I still have got time to improve, but I’m definitively aware and proud about my results so far, both in Singles and Doubles.

Q: Didn’t you decide not to playing Doubles anymore?

ERRANI: No, I didn’t. I put a pause to my Doubles career last year to eventually start again in 2016. My new state of mind about it is to decide whether to play or not each week and take some rest whenever I feel the need to. I am going to take my time and see how Singles matches go first.

Q: Have you decided what to do about Doubles in the next Olympics that will be held in Rio de Janeiro?

ERRANI: I haven’t yet. (laughs).

Q: Do you feel like a Spanish?

ERRANI: I’m in love with Spanish people. Truth to be told, they are getting more and more alike to Italians, even though they have always been the most kind and positive people I have ever been with. In the matter of tennis, I’ve always felt appreciated and respected for the way I chose to play. Italians are much more reproachful for it. They’d rather see other styles of play, more elegant and that doesn’t involve that kind of struggle, which is exactly why Spanish have always appreciated me for. They valued me for my resilience, they way I play it even though my game hasn’t got any spectacular points. They valued me for what I bring on the court each time as well as for the results I have achieved this way thus far. I often feel like it is not the same for Italians.  

Q: Spain has a long tradition of champions, probably the double of Italy, yet you have got a full dedicated tennis channel to count on.

ERRANI: Yes, and that’s a hell of a move if you ask me. Investing on TV channels and newspapers to keep tennis always under the spot light. There is no doubt about the fact that some of Italian players’ positive results have depended on that as well. To promote tennis through advertising and medias means to improve its recognizability. To improve its recognizability means to let it climb up its position into the national sports system.

Q: It’s been a long time with Pablo Lozano, your coach. That is pretty much a singularity into a Tour so accostumed to changes.

ERRANI: We have so much respect and appreciation towards each other and we have been together throught so many ups and downs. He is like a friend to me, a brother, a father, a therapist… To me he is the best coach on Earth, and that is the reason why I kept staying with him throughout all these years. Regarding tactics, which of course has to be a constant focus in my game, he is way better than the rest of his colleagues (laughs). My physical condition is so important since it has to be always close to perfection but tactics are also a major factor.

Q: Doping and match-fixing are the biggest issues of tennis right now. What is your take on that? What do you think would be a solution?

ERRANI: We need more severity towards the ones who have been found guilty. If you get caught, you’re out. That’s it. This is my opinion. Both issues are a disgrace to our sport. I don’t really know how to convert my thoughts into actions, but like I said, we need more strictness. Take antidoping tests for example: I cannot understand people complaining about their frequency or the lack of privacy during the test… Of course it is not easy or comfortable to be available one hour every day, but it’s fair, that is the way it works. We are part of a sports system that works to stay as clean as possible and maintain its integrity, we need to make it work and cut out any transgressor of the rules.

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