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Bautista Agut : « Il n’a pas été facile de décider de jouer au tennis avant le football »

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Dans l’excellent compte Behind the racquet, Roberto Bautista Agut, joueur habi­tuel­le­ment discret, se raconte. L’Espagnol évoque notam­ment le choix qu’il a dû effec­tuer dans sa jeunesse entre le foot­ball et le tennis : « Le foot­ball a toujours été l’une de mes passions. Quand j’étais plus petit, je jouais dans les équipes jeunes de Villareal. Il n’a pas été facile de décider de jouer au tennis avant le foot­ball. Je suis passé d’un sport collectif à un sport indi­vi­duel. C’était compliqué de me séparer de mes amis de l’équipe et de gâcher un rêve que vous aviez depuis enfance, mais je n’ai aucun regret. Ce n’est pas facile de prendre une telle déci­sion à 14 ans. J’ai sacrifié beau­coup de choses pour devenir un joueur de tennis professionnel. »

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“My mom passed away in 2018. I was at the club I used to train at when I got a call after prac­tice. I found out my mom went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It was 100% unex­pected. She was very young, only 52 years old, but was suppor­ting a lot of stress from taking care of my father. He was in the bed in the next room when my mom passed away. Back in 2016 my father was in an acci­dent. My father fell while he was clea­ning our horse stables and became para­lyzed. From my father’s acci­dent he became a quadri­plegic, couldn’t move from the neck down. He used an arti­fi­cial brea­thing machine since he couldn’t do it himself. We had two people, plus my mother, who took care of my father 24 hours a day. Then when my mom passed away and it was all on my wife and I. I would prac­tice and then use my free time to go home and visit my father in the hospital or the house. I knew that during this time I could not stop playing. I had to help my father. In the begin­ning we didn’t know how much the treat­ments would cost or all of his opera­tions. I know that besides the money playing tennis is what my father wanted for me. My parents wanted me to make my dreams come true no matter the situa­tion. I kept playing and fought harder than I ever did. That was my way of making it worth it. During this horrible time is when I played some of my best tennis. I was there for my family as much as I could, but I couldn’t throw away what I have worked all my life for. I never gave up. It was November of 2019, when my father passed away. It was during the Davis Cup match against Canada. I got to be with him his last few minutes and played a match 24 hours later. It was what my father wanted for me. His passing was a little unex­pected but my family knew that it could happen any day or month. Even though I knew this, once your father passes away you face that. These tough moments made me stronger and more powerful. It gave me a strength others didn’t have. It made me more focused and moti­vated. I did every­thing I could to fight hard on the court to show my mother and father that their hard work was worth it.” @robertobautistaagut Go to behindtheracquet.com for extended stories, podcast and merch.

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