Manacor, September 4, 2018
While Rafael Nadal is chasing another Grand Slam title at the US Open in New York, on the other side of the big pond the first ATP Challenger event took place in his Tennis Academy. Bernard Tomic of Australia was the winner of the inaugural Rafa Nadal Open Banc Sabadell.
During a sunny week in Mallorca, we met Joan Suasi, tournament director of the €43,000 hard-court event, for an interview. More than 7,000 visitors came to the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mancaor to attend the matches.
Tennis TourTalk: It’s your first ATP Challenger here. Are you happy with the week so far?
Joan Suasi: I am very pleased with the tournament. It was a great experience for me to organize this event. I am happy that everything was how it was supposed to be. It really worked well.
Was there anything that surprised you while organizing the event?
When you do something for the first time, you do not really know what to expect: How are people going to react? Will the stands be filled? I was really pleased to see many people coming to the academy. It was a very nice tennis atmosphere.
Is there a certain number of visitors you wanted to achieve?
No, as we offer free admission. Everyone is happily invited to attend the tournament. People should come and enjoy the tennis, having a good time with friends and family.
¡GRACIAS de ♥️ a las más de 7.000 personas que habéis venido a la primera edición del #RafaNadalOpen @BancoSabadell. ¡Porque GRACIAS a vosotros el torneo ha sido un auténtico éxito! ☺️ pic.twitter.com/Cfg6Z1rRy4
— Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar (@rnadalacademy) 3. September 2018
Earlier in the year, you also organized an ITF Futures tournament here. In which way did it help to do the ATP Challenger now?
These two tournaments are a totally different story. The main difference is that you have to provide accomodation for the players as well as for the ATP staff at Challenger events. The main problem is to handle the doubles, as you do not really know the correct numbers of rooms you have to provide for the main draw players. Doubles sign-in was on Monday at noon. This changes the whole thing completely. We also have live-scoring and live-streaming as well as press staff here. Futures are less complicated.
Do you get support from the Spanish Tennis Federation?
Yes, we do. The Federation is willing to create a new structure for tennis in Spain. They have supported a couple of Challengers they own this year and we are lucky to be one of them.
Three Challengers will be held in Spanish tennis academies this year. Did you attend the tournament at JC Ferrero Equelite in Alicante in April?
No, I didn’t go there but it is a good thing to have that many events in Spain now. It’s not about competition between the academies. I think that everyone is trying to do his best. The only difference is that we are brand new and the other two have been there for ages.
How will the changes on the ATP Challenger Tour affect the event next year?
I don’t think that the difference will be much in our case. We have enough tennis courts as well as rooms to provide. If the changes are good for tennis, so they are highly welcome. We just need to find out the right date for the tournament, as it should not affect our regular business here in the academy. This week now is right after our summer camp and one week before our next programmes start, so it is a good week for us and it is likely to continue with this date.
In which way Rafael Nadal was involved in the tournament here?
Although, he was not involved in the organization, he was very interested in the tournament. In the end it is his business.
What are the goals for the tournament?
We just want to do a great event. We represent the brand and if we do something like this, we want to do it well. Of course we have to check the costs but we try to make the players, sponsors as well as the crowd happy.
Is there also the idea to organize an ATP World Tour event?
This has been our first year now. You have to ask me this question next year again and then we will see a bit more what is happening in the future.
Thank you for the interview.