Esthella Valentina González Saiza was able to fulfill one of her wishes, by concentrating for two weeks at the Rafa Nadal Academy together with more than 20 American prospects.
Last June at the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, belonging to San Diego County, the Ensenada native obtained one of the two scholarships available at the camp attended by tennis players from 8 to 18 years of age.
“It was a one-week summer course from an organization called Avanza, which is part of Rafa Nadal’s Academy, which holds tournaments in California and everyone is very cool,” he said.
The Ensenadense, related that “we were 100 in total, they separated us by age and level, then they chose those who showed the values they promote on and off the pitch, and I tried to fit in with the group and make friends, since the atmosphere is good”.
“They looked at the attitude and claw of each one, in the positive things; I was not one of the best, in fact, I was on the court three or four, but they watched who got angry and that lowered their points ”, he explained.
So it was that in the end, “they selected two for a two-week scholarship in Spain and I had to be one of them.”
“We arrived in Barcelona on November 17 and we spent three days at the ETM (Escola Tennis Mataró) tennis complex to fit in, from there we flew to Mallorca with Grupo Avanza”, with Valentina, accompanied by young natives from the North American states of Washington , Arkansas, Florida and California.
To carry out the activities in the Balearic Islands, “they gave us a calendar, there were two and a half hours of training, then an hour of physical work and we had a break to eat, ending there was a talk about techniques to use on the pitch and planning objectives “, he pointed.
Subsequently, “they scheduled an hour and a half of play to put into practice what you trained in the morning”, in addition to the coaches, some of them former professional tennis players, led by Toni Nadal, uncle and first instructor of Rafael Nadal -second place of the world ranking of the Association of Professional Tennis Players (ATP) -, “they first try to understand you so that you are good on the court and then apply that approach to win and improve.”
Those in charge of evaluating the performance of the talents, he said, “concluded that my game is very similar to that of Simona Halep -Romanian tennis player- and now I am going to follow her more.”
PLANS FOR 2023
Esthella Valentina González Saiza, is closing a year 2022 in which she saw action, among others, in the Conade National Games.
“This last year we have tried to go beyond San Diego and Los Angeles and it has gone very well for me, in fact, achieving first and second places, and in one or the other, I have not passed the round, but it is not bad for be one of my first tournaments ”, he related.
While for 2023, “one of the objectives is to try to go to an academy, hopefully it will be the same, but if it is not possible, another one where I can learn, also compete in more demanding tournaments in the United States and try the ITF (International Tennis Federation), since I have not gone and those give points and open doors to the Junior Grand Slams”.
The number two racket in Baja California and 46 in Mexico in the Under-16 category, added that “another of my goals is to get to a good university in the United States, which offers an important program to play, although I still haven’t defined my career.” that I want to study, and after that, try professionalism”.
Valentina is an exemplary student who is about to complete the second semester of the Cetys Preparatory bilingual program.
“My parents got me into swimming when I was three or four years old, and since my sister played tennis, they got me in, but I was little, I was bored, I went in, went out and tried other sports,” she said.
The 15-year-old athlete added that “swimming is what I practiced the most at the Baja Tenis Club, where I went every summer and participated in internal competitions and then I belonged to the Firenze College team.”
In his sporting career, González Saiza became involved in volleyball, ballet, hip hop, dance, and Latin rhythms.
“I think that swimming is what helped me the most, since it works the whole body and when I started tennis I was in good shape, in addition to the fact that I was already used to pressure and volleyball, rather, it confused me, since the serve is different and it took me a long time to correct it,” he explained.
On the influence of Adán Chairez, with whom he began his career in Colonia Hidalgo in September 2018, he announced that “I did not know that there were tournaments in Baja California, and he was the one who began to register children in tournaments in Rosarito and Tijuana , that’s how I got more affection for tennis ”.
Four months later, in January 2019, he received the first of the trophies he displays in his cabinets for winning the state championship.
“Adán helped us with transportation, he promoted our careers to get trained and increase our level, since in the center of the country, which is where he is focusing, is where there is more activity and we are going there or to the United States,” he said.
After the pandemic, he continued, “there were no classes and a little over a year ago I was trained by Enrique ‘Henry’ Guzmán, with whom we were in Las Rosas and we moved to Colegio Firenze.”
Esthella Valentina has carried the flag of Ensenada and Baja California in municipal, state, regional, national and sectional qualifiers.
“At the Conade de Rosarito National Games, shortly before the camp in San Diego, I did not do very well, but I tried to get the best out of myself,” he said.
“They tell me that my forehand is very good, although I consider that something good that I have is the serve, that despite the fact that it is not the strongest, I place it well and I can also respond with the backhand, in terms of courts, I am Accustomed to hard surfaces, at Rafa Nadal’s Academy I had to train for a week on clay, I felt comfortable in a new experience and on grass I haven’t had it yet”.
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