Originally Posted by Alvarillo
Sveta should play for Spain!
Emilio Sanchez said this -
Svetlana (as we call her Sveta) arrived at the Academy Sanchez-Casal in Barcelona in when she was about 15 years old. Her mother was an Olympic cycling champion and her father a cycling coach who was doing preseason training in a city nearby, approximately about 100 km away. But Svetlana wanted to do something different: To be a tennis player.
First time I met her I said: "She was so shy she would not look at you, she had no confidence in herself, but every time she hit the ball the noise was different, never saw anything like it in all my career, maybe similar to Roddick, remember Arantxa when was little, incredible talent but this strokes was never seen". We had a staff meeting and decided that we will help her, at that time we just started the Academy and didn’t have many of this kind of players.
Two years later, at age 16, she was already the number 1 junior in the world. I tried to convince the Spanish Tennis Federation to offer her to become a Spanish citizen, but they didn’t believe the potential that I saw in her. The Federation's president at that time said: ".. She's a mediocre player that never will be in the top 20. We have people offering players like this to us every month...". Today after Arantxa and Conchita have retired, Spain is in deep trouble for female players.