The United States Professional Tennis Association Competitive Player Development Conference was held at the Academia Sánchez-Casal in Naples, Fla., Dec. 7-9. Conference attendees had the opportunity to learn the Spanish method for developing players.
The Academia Sánchez-Casal, considered the best tennis academy in Europe, officially opened its branch in Naples, Fla., on November 1 (although doors opened for members on October 1). It will be the largest clay court facility in the country, which is a key factor for the Academy to implement its training system based in Spanish tennis. This system has developed top players including Murray, Kuznetsova, Monaco and Hantuchova, among many others.
Featured speakers at the conference included Emilio Sanchez Vicario, Luis Mediero and Derek Touchette. Sanchez Vicario, who is a USPTA Master Professional, is the former captain of the 2008 championship Davis Cup team for Spain and a former tour player ranked No. 7 in singles and No. 1 in doubles. He was also captain of Spain's Olympic gold medal team in 2008. The Sanchez family is also well known for Emilio's sister, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who won four Grand Slam singles titles, six Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
Luis Mediero is a USPTA Master Professional and the founder of Registro Profesional de Tenis (RPT) in Madrid, Spain. Mediero, who is also the president of the International Coaches Institute, has a lifetime of coaching experience that he has shared through courses, clinics and conferences in 80 countries.
Derek Touchette is the fitness director at Academia Sanchez-Casal. He is the founder of Total Athletic Performance and has trained athletes for the NFL, NBA, MLS and USA Soccer. He has trained tennis players, such as Sharapova, Jankovic, and Mirny.
The Academy just opened its programs for juniors, ATP-WTA players, coaches and after-school tennis for kids. It will follow the same successful structure that it has in Barcelona: the Academia Sánchez-Casal Tennis Club, a traditional club for families with numerous social activities and great tennis programs for local kids, combined with the high performance Academy programs.