Sara Sorribes will play the Mutua Madrid Open thanks to a well-deserved invitation from the organization in 2021 in which she has won her first WTA title, in Guadalajara, and has obtained her best position in the world ranking, 46. On Friday she will debut against Simona Halep and before she spoke with AS.
How are you after a few days without playing and what have you been doing?
I rested for a few days when I returned from Bogotá, what I needed and Silvia (Soler) and Paco (Fogués), my coaches, also told me that I had to rest. Now I have been training since Monday the 12th well, calm at home, until I came to Madrid on Sunday.
That break is because almost no year had I played so many games in a row at the beginning of the season, which in the end is a good thing …
It is a totally different year. I hadn't been lucky enough to be able to play so many games in a row and the truth is that these last three or four weeks were very intense and I was lucky to play a lot, which in the end wears out. But hey, the truth is that I am very happy with that and that I also had to experience having to rest for having played so much.
They will have a plan or some way to deal with that 'problem' if everything continues to go well.
Hopefully we have to continue resting or doing new things that I had not experienced until now, because it will be a very good sign. I leave that to them, my coaches, who are the ones who know and trust. The days of training are marking me a bit, when I have to do it more calmly and when a little more at the top. I just listen.
“I am very happy to have to rest for having played so much”
How is the day to day of the team, do they make decisions in a collegial way or do they get carried away?
We talk about everything, logically, and make decisions a bit together. We all give our opinion and in the end I do believe that they are the ones who know, that in the end they are the ones who see it from the outside. And I think that everything looks better from the outside and I fully trust them, therefore, if they tell me, for example, not to play in Istanbul and that it was a good option to rest to get to Madrid better, well I accept it, because I think they are right and that I have to learn. So we are talking a lot, but logically the one who has to learn the most is me, who am the youngest and the one who sees it from the inside and with the most desire.
Is the relationship better with this team than with the previous ones?
It is different. I believe that each one has his or her character and leads relationships in a different way, that is always the case with all coaches in football or in any sport. I have known Paco forever and since I was 14 years old he trained me for the first time. I think having that bond and that relationship is special. And with Silvia, because we had a great friendship before starting work, therefore, I think that already has a plus and added extra confidence.
You said you can't keep the game with the backhand cut as a permanent resource, that you have to try to hit harder to hit, flatter, to do more damage. How are you doing that job?
We work it and we have worked it before. It is something that I believe is always there, constantly evolving. You have to keep improving. That's what i try. I am aware that I have to improve the backhand, the forehand … everything. It is the line that we are going to try to maintain to achieve a higher rhythm and that I feel more confident.
When you play, are you very faithful to the game plan or do you like to improvise?
It is clear that the player in the end sees things that are not seen from the outside and things that are not seen from the inside are seen from the outside. But I do try to remain quite firm in what we have spoken, in the game plan, because if you have started the game believing in that I think it is the right thing to do. Yes, there are things that Silvia can tell me from the outside, “hey, be careful, you're making a mistake.” But I think it would be more something that I am not doing than we had talked about, because you already have a view of the players and you know more or less where things are going.
“I try to stay pretty firm on the game plan.”
How do you decide during a game which hit to hit, a topspin or flat, or a drop?
Because you see it in the moment. You think it has to go there and you try. Sometimes they don't turn out the way you want or the other one is waiting and throws you a better shot. But I think it goes a lot with the moment you have, with the plan that you know you have to play, depending on how you feel about it. I think that is even more important. You know which balls you feel the most at that moment and I think that from there you decide. You know that if you are in one position, it will cost you more to drop one site than the other. In the end, tennis is very repetitive and they are situations that you have already experienced many times. You play around with that and with the sensations.
With the streak you have had, do you notice a change in how your rivals face you, more respect perhaps?
I have noticed it a little at the beginning of the matches. Now perhaps they are looking for different things that they weren't looking for before, attacking more or trying to go further towards the net, because maybe from behind they see it harder than they did ates. But I go to mine a lot. Not much has changed for me.
The one who has not changed is you …
I still have the same time to see him and face the games to give everything. I compare it a lot to the day I turned 18. I woke up thinking that there would be something different and life continued the same, along the same path. It's a bit what happened to me later. I remember the day I got up in the top-100, it was 99 and I was thinking what would change something, but no, everything is the same and it still is now.
“When I came back they told me, 'Oysters, you needed to rest, but so did we.'
Family and schedules
With what enthusiasm are you arriving in Madrid?
It is clear that it is the best year in terms of ranking, in terms of level, in terms of games played. That's there, it's not because I said so. But even so, my dream is to play as many games as possible at a good level. My progression is still not getting to Madrid and doing well, I think I have to keep improving to be able to play with the best many more games. The first day I quit playing, I will have won or lost, but I hope I have improved again.
You already played with the public in Guadalajara, where you won your first title, something that even Nadal longed for. Is it even more special at home?
In Guadalajara it was very beautiful and very special because I think that from winning a tournament without an audience to winning it with an audience no matter how little there is, there is a lot of difference. I think it is not the same at all for the players to have that support. Rafa sees it multiplied by 1,000 because he always plays with many people watching him. In the end I don't play in front of many spectators, so at the beginning I didn't notice a big difference either. I notice it more now from not having any to the fact that there are. Although it is not the same as for a Nadal or a Garbiñe (Muguruza).
How do you wear bubble tennis?
Very good, because I think we are very lucky, that we are privileged to be able to be playing with everything there is. I am also fortunate to have a very good relationship with Silvia and to be able to spend a lot of time with her. Therefore, if at some point we get overwhelmed or anything we can always go have a coffee even at the hotel and talk about anything else. That takes us out of the tennis-only world a bit.
Has your family really enjoyed this year's successes?
They are very happy, although they lost a lot of sleep because they watched all the games that were late at night. In fact, when I came back, people said to me, “Oysters, you needed to rest, but so did we.” He was very grateful to me, because, poor people, they went to work having slept very little. They have handled it very well, the truth is, they are super happy.
How do you see the women's circuit today?
I see it very beautiful for the viewer, honestly, because I like tennis a lot, also seeing it from the outside. These weeks, for example, that I have not played, I saw the Stuttgart or Istanbul draw and I thought, 'I have no idea who is going to win, it is that in the second round there are already great games. I think that makes it very attractive and very beautiful. I think we are in a spectacular moment.
The bad thing about that is that it can happen that you win number one, like Paula Badosa, and the next day I win you 30 …
We see it that way, but Barty must think the same. So, it is good because it makes you work every day, it makes you have to improve and it is good for one side and the other.
What is your roadmap?
Madrid, then Rome and then Belgrade and Parma, I still don't know which one I'll play.