This article claims that the sun has set on the inspiring career of the Paraguayan lady that spanned four decades. However, it also marks the sunrise of the beginning of another career.
United By The Same Passion
27 de Febrero de 2011
. By Nancy Duré Cáceres. ABC Color Magazine Digital.
Rossana de los Ríos presents her daughter Ana Paula, in whom she sees a great future as a tennis player. She who was number one in Roland Garros Juniors announced her retirement to support her successor.
She says she has much to offer and, according to experts, is a firm promise.
With pleasure, Rossana talks about her girl. No wonder. Ana Paula, besides having sporting talent, is becoming a beautiful lady, and better still, wants to follow her Mom. Now, some say that the apple always falls near the tree. Ana Paula is not the first nor will she be the last one to share a similar feature with her progenitor. Rossana, although happy about this, clarifies that she is not happy purely because Ana follows in her own footsteps exactly, but is happy because she is clear about what she wants for her life. "I recognize that I am very happy that Ana Paula loves tennis as much as me, but the important thing is that she feels fully with what you choose as a way of life. Today she wants to be a tennis player, and it is important that Gustavo (Neffa, her husband) and I support her one hundred percent in accompanying this fledgling career,"
As you recall, Rossana had a successful career passing through the junior circuit. She was number one in the world in 1992, the year she won the Roland Garros Junior (beating Paola Suarez 6-4 6-0 in the final). Then she retired to marry and start a family. Again, she demonstrated her claws and talent to return to the circuit, after five years of inactivity. She did a great unfolding performance at Roland Garros 2000. "It was an impressive stage of my life ... return to tennis, with husband, daughter, family travel and to succeed again was fantastic. "
She reached her highest ranking in singles at No. 50 and her best position in doubles was number 52 in 2003. "I never get tired of saying I'm not sorry for any decisions I made in my life. I agree with every step I took, and today I am very happy to share the same passion with my daughter. This year, though I will be participating in some tournaments (?!), I'm going to select some more time with my daughter ... It is certainly a release, but my idea is to be by her side supporting every step to make her experience more rewarding,"
she says sitting in the lounge of the Paraguayan Spring Yacht and Golf Club.
The career of her only daughter is directed by the hand of another champion Paraguayan Víctor Pecci (Former Roland Garros finalist). "The training costs are very high in the United States and here in Paraguay is a competent team that has nothing to fear from the outside. We bet with Paraguayan professionals like Edgar Torres in fitness and Luis Ramirez in terms of psychological preparation. Ana is very mature, is determined and sure of what she wants."
In addition, she sees in her daughter a brutal technical potential. "She's very good technically. Though she has not yet had the opportunity to participate in tournaments, because the last two years she has followed me around the tour, in return, this led her to appreciate styles, techniques of great players. At one time she trained in the complex of Aranxta Sanchez Vicario and argued that it was a period of consolidation in what she wanted for her life. Being in constant contact with great characters, the observation, assessment of each game certainly was nurturing and that passion is surfacing now."
Father Gustavo (former professional football player of the Boca Juniors and Paraguayan National side) clarifies that at no time did Ana Paula receive any influence from himself or Rossana. "We are here to support her. As athletes, we understand that she needs containment, but if tomorrow she comes and tells us that she is seeking a university or another race, we will give the same support,"
Tennis vs. Youth
Rossana has analysed the young people who are entering the sport in recent years. In short, she considers that tennis is an ideal activity for youth, providing spirit of excellence, emotional maturity, responsibility, the value of work, discipline. It also contributes to the physical development and helps to lead a healthy life. "The physical preparation, technique, tactics, biological and psychological athlete will help her become a better person, be more disciplined, more humble, more tenacious, which eventually leads us to be happy."
For those women who took promising young tennis as a way of life, we say that we need all the support possible, which offers its experience. "I'm open to consultation for young people. I love giving advice from what I experienced, not only to young people but also their families. Latinos are very attached to family, to our land, and this attitude is sometimes difficult or clouding of the success,"
Her passion for this sport also matured a social-sport project. "My experience, knowledge and professional and personal experiences around the sport are taking me to convey all my experiences with other young talents and their families in a professional and personal, from a school or complex. To realize this project was my way of giving back much of what this game gave me an added value to my life, let's see what happens."
"This is what I want"
Ana Paula also says during the interview. "From the age of 9 I went calling and telling my mom that I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I like it. It is what I want,"
she says firmly and moves to tell who trains with much rigor. "I have a routine that does not break for anything, I'm very disciplined. I sleep at 10pm or so, sometimes earlier, inclusive. I get up at 6:00, do yoga, I prepare breakfast and I will train for five hours or less."
All these habits have not made her abandon her studies. "She will continue with her classes in the United States and it's not going to change. As we have residence (in the United States), we come and go, so her preparation is not going to be an impediment to continue with her studies. I want this sport to bring you personal values and to get square with their academic formation... Tennis gave me my husband, my daughter, all the achievements that I have in my life, and that is something amazing ... and now I have my daughter following in my footsteps, I feel that is an extension ...".
The marriage of Neffa-de los Rios remains firm. "We have been married 18 years and we're like the first day: 24 hours together. We continue taking us super well ... living away from Paraguay and constantly traveling from one country to another, for my sporting commitments, brought us closer as a couple, as a family,"
And Dad did not get a bit jealous at how pretty the girl is getting with its newly completed 14 years? "She's the apple of his eye. Gustavo was very present in her life, her education while competing, because it was he who was taking care of it,"
And we could not stop without talking about the players who turned out to be models, more or less. "There is that possibility [of modelling], there are great tennis images of big brands. In particular, I think it's very complicated and difficult to deal with it because both require dedication and time, but if there is it's because she can. We had Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Ana Kournikova ... but the final word is Ana Paula."
Mother and daughter look like accomplices, laughing heartily during the interview. They have much in common: sport, firm decisions and are fashionistas! "I like to dress well, I know all the designers,"
she reveals with a shy smile, Ana Paula.
She has few friends ... "When young people her age are planning a party, she is preparing to go to sleep, and during the day she is training; this is not to say that she has no social life, but she very responsible and knows what he wants,"
says proud mom.
Her qualities will be demonstrated in an upcoming tournament to be held at the Yacht and Golf Club Paraguay in March. It's her first match and can be the beginning of a bright future. We wish you all the best.
"Ana Paula has talent and I want her to optimize her highest competitive level to achieve real goals.
Since I was a little girl I loved this sport and I wanted to become a great professional.
I want to share what tennis meant to me with those who also make the sport part of your life."
Original Spanish Article from #1 Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color: