Hostalric is a municipality in Catalonia of less than 3,000 inhabitants, and it is likely that many will say nothing, but for Tommy Robredo it means everything. The village where he was born, almost forty years ago, to which he is very attached, as well as linked to the Barcelona tournament (champion in 2004 and finalist in 2006), where he will give his official farewell to tennis next month. Of course, the Spaniard has never really recovered from the elbow injury he suffered at the beginning of 2016, but formally he is still a professional playerand wants to end his glorious career in front of his family and his people, as he told the microphones of PuntodeBreak: “I am thrilled with this latest effort, the last tournament I will play in Barcelona, Although I will try to play Murcia to get some rhythm. The last one will be at home, so I wanted to say goodbye to the circuit after some absence. My dream was to say goodbye to the public, to my people, last year would have been an option but with COVID I didn’t even think about it. I couldn’t imagine a goodbye without my parents being in the stands, so we decided to extend it for another year“.
Robredo has always been a man even before being a player, passionate, instinctive, genuine man (like the celebration where he tore his shirt off after winning the Hamburg Masters in 2006), and above all attached and very grateful to tennis: “Tennis has given me a lot, it has taught me everything, it has raised me, it has given me the education and values I have. Tennis causes you to fall and get up every weekto know how to win and know how to lose, to achieve fame, to earn money being very young, to reach your goals … what lives a normal person at 70, athletes experience it in 20“.
A career, as we know and as we can see from the words, full of moments to frame and memorable, for one of the most important Spanish tennis players of the 21st century (12 career ATP titles and the fifth position reached in the ranking); but it is curious to see how very often Tommy Robredo’s career is remembered more for a famous defeat than for a victory: October 26, 2014, final 500 on indoor hard courts in Valenciaepic and pure competitive spirit, lost against Andy Murray 6-3 6-7 (7) 6-7 (8) in 3 hours and 20 (showing him both middle fingers at the time of saying goodbye).
And Robredo himself chooses her as a match in his life: ” AND the cruelest match of my career but, at the same time, it is one of the matches of which I have the best memories. That match was spectacular, I’ve seen it several times and I always get goosebumps, we both played at an extraordinary level, in the style of Djokovic-Nadal at the Australian Open. A match, with five match points that I missed, plus with Andy, someone I really appreciate. After the game we went together to Paris-Bercy in his private plane: he celebrating with champagne and I in the back drinking water. It is a game that I lost but which I am very fond of “.
And it was not easy to select her, among all the marathons that the Spaniard has played, in his career, thanks to his mentality and readiness: “You have to be very strong physically and then be very hard mentally, don’t give up until the end. When I reached the fifth set, he always gave me a chance because I saw that the other was not as good as me, fortunately I have been able to enjoy high level tennis on many occasions in my career. This is the basis in that kind of games, the physique and the head“.
After all, in line with his career as a worker, humble, never looking for the first page, he closes by making an honest assessment of a career that started in 1998 and which will end in 2022, e without big regretswho usually at the time of farewell always go to accompany the samples, like an old friend found: “I would change my whole career. When I was 17, I started playing with no experience, I didn’t know anything about this world. Today I am prepared, now with what I know I could have a much better career. But of course, I didn’t know this before due to lack of experience. With the 17-year-old Robredo I would sit for a long time, explaining to him everything he did that he shouldn’t have. I would tell him which things to train, which to improve, where tennis is headed, which tournaments to play, whether or not he should hire a physical trainer, whether to travel for more or less weeks … but I don’t regret anything. Nobody does perfect things“.
And after all, it allows itself a sweet note, putting its qualities at the center, making it clear how nothing is born by chance: “I gave it my all, this is one of the things I’m happiest about. Even if I had made different decisions, I can blame myself for very few things, very few players have been more professional than me on a tennis court. I remember that my friends went to parties in the summer and that I went to bed at midnight, but I was very clear on what I wanted, that effort didn’t mean paying any price. I have always been very disciplined in this respect, my father educated me that way, he focused me on working every day to achieve the goals“. And these goals, rest assured that you have achieved them all right Tommy, especially in the hearts of those who still cherish your memories. Barcelona is waiting for you for one last, great salsa.