Samuel Sánchez from 9th grade took second place in the singles category,16 years, of the Cosat South American Tennis Tournament 2021 – 2022, Grade 1, held at the Club Campestre in Cali. He was also a semifinalist in doubles. He beat complicated foreign rivals ranked higher than him, as well as defeating one of the favourites to win this tournament. His excellent performance led him to be the only Colombian to reach the finals.
Samuel has managed to prevail over his rivals and his high performance opened the doors to play one of the most important finals in the circuit. The road to the final was complicated. The first score was 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, beating the Brazilian Enzo Kohlmann. In the quarterfinals he had to beat Ecuadorian Daniel Espin, to face off in the semifinals against one of the favourites of the tournament, Paraguayan Thiago Drozdowski with a score of (6-3, 6-2), to thus reach the grand final of tennis Cosat.
“This tournament is played every year, this is one of the hardest of the year, I did not have so much expectation because I always went out in the first round, last year I lost in the second round. When I realised I had to face the South American number 4 I thought it was very difficult to beat him, but I thought first I would play to see how I would do.”
Even though Samuel’s name was not amongst the favourites, it was not a problem for him to show dominance thanks to his forehand, his good positioning and focused movements on the court, thus reaching the final.
“The forehand is my strong suit and if I don’t have a good forehand in a match I don’t do very well. I think my greatest strength is the combination of the physical part, the technique of my strokes, the mentality. In the final my forehand was not good, and the Brazilian Luis Felipe Olivera played better than me” said Samuel.
When it’s time to go out on the tennis court, submitting every thought and turning it into an advantage is necessary to have the mental strength to control every move in the game, have leverage over the opponent and win.
“What I feel most when I’m on the court playing is anxiety, nerves and I feel the urge to use the strategies I’ve been preparing in training, so that once I get on the court all the jitters fade away and I just think about playing well.”
In the final of the tournament, Samuel faced the Brazilian Luis Felipe Oliveira, who won with a score of 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
“Every time I achieve the results I set out to obtain, I feel a lot of satisfaction and joy, and if the results I expected don’t come my way, I feel frustrated but eager to correct the mistakes I made. What’s next for me is to keep training every day to improve my level and keep competing”.
Samuel hopes to continue to develop his game to aspire to a full ride sports scholarship abroad, which will allow him to continue to excel in the sport he loves. Representing Colombia in the future is a goal he has and with the discipline and experience he has gained so far he will surely achieve it!