Roberto Bautista Agut On Grief, Passion And Play
The Madrid Metropolitan´s Abi Lindsay Clark shares a few minutes with tennis player Roberto Bautista Agut
You first started tennis lessons at the young age of 5. Did you love the sport from the very beginning?
I am very passionate about sports since I was a child. I can’t conceive my life without practicing sports.
I am so very sorry for the loss of your Mother in 2018 and the recent loss of your Father. People’s hearts all over the world poured out to you in November last year. You won the admiration of people from all over, with your strength to keep playing and go on to lead your nation to victory in the Davis cup. What gave you that incredible strength to carry on?
My parents encouraged me from the very beginning. These were tough years but they (my parents) would have pushed me to keep playing. Furthermore, the Spanish team was very supportive all the time.
At the end of the tournament Rafa Nadal said, “I have won the eight games but I say it with my heart, the person who has been vital in this Davis Cup is Roberto, what he has done is something almost inhuman, I don’t know how to explain it, he is an example for the rest of my life.” How did those poignant words make you feel?
These words from Rafa Nadal were very kind, but I just tried to do my best for the team. Rafa was helping and supporting the team, I had a sort of duty with them.
Congratulations on your recent wedding! How are you finding balancing married life with your busy agenda?
Thank you!! It is not easy when you are travelling for most of the year but we try to spend together as much time as possible, and Ana is joining me in some tournaments.
You have won an impressive 9 ATP singles titles. Which of all these titles personally gave you the most satisfaction?
It is very difficult to win tournaments so each one of them is important, but maybe Doha last year because all the great players I had to defeat: Djokovic, Wawrinka, Berdych. And Dubai, as it was the first ATP 500.
You are currently number 9 in the world. I imagine your ultimate goal is to be number 1. How do you hope to move towards this?
I am more focused on the day to day, training everyday and trying to improve always and compete better. There is a bunch of great players in the top ten but I am sure that if I keep working well good results will come.
Which match has been your most challenging of your tennis career so far?
Despite the fact that Djokovic defeated me in four sets, reaching Wimbledon semi-finals last year was amazing! It is great to play this tournament always, but in 2019 was special because I did my first Grand Slam semi-finals, the atmosphere was incredible, I had family and friends there…
What does it really feel like in the moment when you win an important title?
A relief at the beginning. When you win a tittle it means that you have been under pressure and very concentrated during many days. It means that you have been working as planned. But you have to start thinking about the next tournament as soon as you lift the trophy, so not much time relax, which I think is good
People explain how sport gives you a form of wellbeing beyond simply feeling better or having a better body but it can also can give you something spiritual with a connection between body and mind. What does tennis bring you personally and psychologically?
Tennis is a way of life for me. Mostly everything revolves around it: tennis practice, workouts, healthy diet… I also practice meditation to have a clear, strong and balanced mind
What are your interests outside tennis?
I really enjoy watching other sports and spending time with my dogs and horses
With so much travelling you must miss your home in Castellon. What do you most miss about your home town and your life back there?
My family and friends… and the nice weather!
You were very serious about football when you were a young boy. Do you miss the sport?
I really enjoyed that time but I do it now from the outside. I have good friends who are football players and from time to time I exercise myself hitting the ball… with my feet!
You have a huge passion for horses. Where did that come from and is it something you would ever want to do professionally?
I have loved animals since my childhood, all my memories are surrounded by animals: horses, dogs…. My grandma bought me my first mare for my 10th birthday and she is still with me. I already have my herd of horses
We have seen you express your pride of your home county for their campaigns for respect and equality, promoted by the City Council of Castellón de la Plana and the association Castelló LGBTI. You obviously feel a commitment to report homophobia in sports, what actions are you currently taking to help this problem?
The most important thing is to be a good person doesn’t matter who you love.
What’s next in your 2020 schedule?
Rotterdam next week (from February 8th) and looking forward to playing in the UK again this year!