Oohh .. Oohh .. Let me brag again with my skills!
Anyway, here are the translations:
"Justine is an extraordinary girl"
It has already 7 years that the coach and the pupil have worked toghether
- We cannot talk about Carlos wthout mentioning his relationship with Justine Henin. It has already been 7 years that the coach and the pupil are united like the strings of a racquet. "I have begun to work with her in 1996 on a tournament for players younger than 14. I had just entered the Centre of the French-speaking Tennis Association at Mons (Bergen). And the rest went really well."
The following years, they became very close to each other. "But I have always forced myself to keep some distance. Firstly, I am her coach. I have always been very servere towards her and I have always exaggerated quite a lot. On the other side, I have never meddled with her private life. If she talks about it, I listen and if she asks me, I give her advise. That's also my task. But I never take the initiative."
"Pierre-Yves has given her something more: confidence"
He is more accessible for certain other family problems of his pupil: he has aslo broken up with his parents. "I have had a difficult childhood. My parents had a lot of fights and I suffered a lot under them." One thing is certain: Carlos Rodriguez gives his famous champion a lot of credit. "She's a fantastic girl. She's very serious in her job and very concentrated, a bit closed. But in real life, she's very different, very open, always open towards the others, always ready to help someone or to make them happy. You have to see how she entertains Manuel, my son. You have to see the details she has for such persons and for others."
He has the same praising words for Pierre-Yves, the husband of the n°2 in the world. "He has given her more than anyone can give her. He has given her confidence. And, above all things, he loves her just the way she is. They already know each other since she was ranked 300th in the world and Justine was in 7th heaven. He's a really nice guy, a bit naieve, but with a big heart. He has made Justine open-blown and happy. And this is visible on and off the court. On the tournaments in the four corners of the word and surely on the Grand Slams, Justine, Pierre-Yves and Carlos are almost always together. "And believe me, the good mood is always present. We make fun each ten minutes! Certainly when Pierre-Yves tries to imitate me."
Sometimes, Carlos suggests that the two love-birds should have an intimate dinner with just the two of them. "Then they both answer in chorus that that is out of the question, that they don't want to leave me alone. I'm always very touched by that ..."
Carlos doesn't know yet if he would be able to coach another player. "No, without a doubt. Between us, everything is very strong. If I should stop my collaboration with Justine, I'd rather try to stay at home ..."
Carlos Rodriguez - "I feel 99.9% Belgian"
The coach of Justine has dared to choose tennis over soccer
- In the entourage of Justine Henin, Carlos Rodriguez is one of the most important persons. Next to being already 7 years the coach of the "Rochfortoise" player, he has also become a confident and friend. He directly adds: "But I'm first of all and before everything her coach".
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the year 1964, Carlos Rodriguez could have had a carreer in soccer. "It was my favourite sport. I have even played on a high level, in the juniors devision of the club of Platense. My favourite field position was in the middle field, left side ..." He was 14 when Argentina, under the lead of Kempes, won the World Cup in his birth town. "I haven't missed a match! It was total madness. I even witnessed the match Argentina-France in the stands."
With the ball at his feet, it was Diego Armando Maradonna that he admired the most. "I have never seen a player with so much talent. I pity the way he has lived the rest of his life, but he was a unique player. The biggest of them all. At present, I have a lot of admiration for Real Madrid, a club that hasn't got an equal in the whole world and also for the player Zinedine Zidane. But, for me, Maradonna is still in another dimension."
It was especially tennis where the 16 year old Carlos Rodriguez turned to. "I played since I was 6. My parents, who prefered that sport, had a lot to do with my descision. And ... I wasn't that bad with a racquet in my hands.
Stong with his technical abilities and his competivity, he raised the competition, increasing his ranking before trying to survive in the jungle of the ATP Tour. "I was a good player at the baseline, one of the types that lasts 2 hours on court to win a match 6-2 6-2", he said with irony.
His first contact with Belgium was in 1982, during the Orange Bowl. "I was eliminated in the second round and I was forced to stay one week. I was lonely, put out of joint, with no morale. I remember having cried on the platform of the railway station of Charleroi, condemning the country."
His professionel carreer was rather average. But his second stay in our country was more fun! "In 1986, I reached the semi finals of the tournament of Zoute. I met several persons and I learned to know and love Belgium."
At the point of definately settling him here a bit later. "Thanks to my friend Philippe Bonne, I arranged my papers and chose a residence in Wetteren. To pay my bills, I participated in distant tournaments and I gave tennis lessons, especially in Ghent and Waregem. I worked a lot, certainly with Dick Norman."
It's then at Eeklo that he met his future wife, Elke. "I was in the middle of a match when a woman suddenly crossed the court, without worrying about a thing! After the meeting, I gently gave her the remark. That was the start of a long love story ..."
It has been already been 13 years that Elke and Carlos live in perfect happiness. "We met at August 18th 1990. And the coincidence was that our first son, Manuel, was born on August 18th 1998! It was fate ..."
Since then, the family has expanded with the little Matteo, born last month. "Because of my several journeys, I spent relatelively little time at home. But I asked for some time off, to be 100% at home in Belgium. The last two times that I was at the movies, it was to see Peter Pan and Jungle Book."
Settled in Wavre, far away from the noice of the town, Carlos is a very happy man. In his living room, the toys side with the teddy bears. And in his garden, a big soccer goal signals to future big family parties! "Belgium has given me all and I credit it all to the country. It's a fantastic country. The nicest in the world. Here, we live happily, we eat well, we meet wonderful people. I am very proud that a little country like ours also takes a descisive role in the Iraqi conflict. I feel 99.9% Belgian. The tiny part that I miss is soccer: I warn you, around those regions, my heart is still a bit in Argentina ..."
At home, there is a mix of French and Dutch. "I speak French and Elke talks Dutch. And Manuel already learns 2 languages in the school of Court-Saint-Etienne."