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One word, unstoppable

07 December 2016

Martín de la Puente, number 1 in the world ranking of wheelchair tennis in the world, is a young man who loves what makes a young man full of energy and vitality.

We had the chance to talk to him and get to know him a little more closely. This is what he told us:

1. Where does this hobby of tennis come from?

From a young age. My parents really liked tennis. My family was always very athletic. My brother started to come to the Club Naútico de Vigo on weekends. I would come with him to try, I would not go to class but to the pediment and throw some balls, it was not my intention to play tennis. Javi arrived and told my brother that if he could come during the week and I accompanied him. When I played in the fronton there was an older gentleman whose name was Gerardo who always played with me so that he was not alone. There it started, but then the operations came, the amputation of the leg and then it was a little more dispersed. He talked to my parents and told them that with one foot less he could not play tennis again.

I tried other things like swimming, water polo, basketball in a chair, but at that time I did not like it very much. Suddenly my coach told me that yes, with another boy named Alvaro Illobres who is a non-combustible player of Galician tennis, who could try to play tennis, come to Pontevedra and teach you. When I went, I saw a chair that was a transatlantic. I said, "What have you brought me ... that I do not want to ride in that, as I will play there sitting." He was happy and I tried. What began as a hobby was gradually taking on another color. From a day that came I pass two, three, five now that I'm coming. Pass through many hands; In the beginning Gerardo. A friend of Javi's name was Hector who taught me the basis of tennis, as the blows were made. He would sit on a chair and point out the movements. He told me: "You can play this even if you are different from the others" and in the end, between all of them I was encouraged to get into full and thanks to them I am here.

2. Although you did not have much time in tennis, you started to emphasize both inside and outside of Spain. In 2010 you got into the chair and in 2012 you already won tournaments. Did you expect to have good results so soon?

(Laughter) Not at all! In Marbella or Valencia I did not expect good results. But then I saw that you could win, but the most important thing was that I had fun. I believe that if someone has fun doing something is what they should do. I started and I saw that as soon as I made achievements, then little by little I was proposing higher goals. To go to some world, to know some components of the selection and in the end putting each one a little of his part I was growing in all the fields, not only in the tennis player but in the studies and as person because in the end however much you are, these Very happy and having a good time doing sports, in the end you're still the same guy everyone looks at different. When you go to the beach everyone looks at you because you go with a graffiti leg. When everyone goes to run, you stay on the sidelines and then this makes you overcome those things. I with tennis I forget everything. I love sharing these moments with classmates and coach and I enjoy it as a little kid with a new toy.

3. Always from here to there, traveling one day yes and another too?

Well to the trips in the end you get used to it, at the airport they even greet me, at school they also used jokes, they told me: "what do you do, Martin, you're not traveling" everyone laughed a little and well, deep down I I like to travel a lot, meet people, new cultures, new places, but in the end I think that traveling is so tired. Traveling day if and day is also a bit harsh. Many friends propose you plans and you have to tell them that you can not be in Japan for example. It is necessary to put on your part but good to me I love to travel and I value it very much.

4. Number 1 of the juvenile ranking ... a for the absolute?

Yes. It's a long-term goal, obviously because right now it's practically impossible. I believe there is nothing that can not be done. If you put on your side, things are going to go out little by little no matter how much it costs. I think it is a great goal and if I achieve it would be incredible.

5. In 2020, Tokyo Olympics? By then, you're an engineer, right?

(Laughter) Yes. I was talking to my father who is also an engineer and I'm telling him to help me a little. Within a year I enter the University and I have not yet decided 100% what I am going to study although engineer is an option, of course. This year, in addition, I was with the technical drawing stuck but the important thing is that I like. I have to reflect.

6. Sportsman, scholar ... In what way do you define yourself?

Pretty tough. Hard and mature. Despite having had difficult times in my life, such as times when I almost could not walk and I've been pretty bad, I always went ahead. My grandfather came to see me and always said he had a non-combustible smile, which was always friendly. From having gone through that, even moments in which you sometimes feel alone despite being backed by my family and my people, I said yes, you help me, but you do not know what it feels like. I go to the beach and people are watching, I know it's not their fault but people are surprised to see me and well there are many things that I can not do. In the end I was maturing, I realized things, I'm bad but could have been worse, could not have walked for the rest of my life or could have had some brain problem. I am aware of small details that make you think things that a child my age would not think, then I matured since everything happened to me and that is why I would say that I am quite hard and especially mature.

7. Every athlete has a reference ... is yours?

Man in Spain we have Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer, two born referents. In tennis chair I really like an Argentine player named Gustavo Fernandez. It's a beast, the boy. I saw him for the first time in the world cup 2013-2014 and he was 19 years old and it looked like Hulk, it looked like he had been swollen with a bowler hat. He is now 3 or 4 in the world. I love how he trains and how he plays. He's Argentine, so he's competitive and he's very talented. I like that much and more of him than above is a great person and a great friend.

8. How many friends do you have in the circuit?

Exact. I always emphasize that when I was little I met a Dutch player, born in Brazil but with a Dutch family. I met him when I was 14 years old in the youth world in France. I found it with an orange ridge and I thought "this guy is very fussy, I do not go anywhere unless he hits me or something", I arrived and he started to speak to me in Spanish and in the end we became very friends. In the tournaments we are always together and even invited me to his home on a tour that had 3 tournaments in Belgium and of course I could not go back and go again, so we went together to the first tournament and invited me to his home in Holland.

In tennis, apart from playing and competing, you know places, you know people who become friends, the team-mates who are wonderful people, Álvaro Illobre and Martín who were referents here in Galicia and we go to the tournaments together. It is for all this that tennis gives you achievements, friends and family.

9. There are 16 operations if the data does not fail me, where do the forces come from?

It was pretty hard. Spending so many days in hospitals, immobilized and going through a lot of pain. After all, when you have surgery, everything hurts. The worst thing I had was facing the operating room alone, with no one there to tell me that everything was going to be okay. When I woke up I felt pain but felt that everything had already happened. It could have come out right or wrong but the worst had happened. When they told me that I had to operate, I never wanted to, but I knew it was the right thing to do and I did not care about it. I knew that I was going to recover and I did not plan on stopping anywhere. I have always tried to recover as soon as possible in order to get back to my normal life and in the end I think this has very hard times in life but later it helps you to mature, to think what you are going to do in your life, to realize small details that Many people do not appreciate and despite having gone bad and have been very difficult the way. Right now I am here, there is no operation planned, so I am the happiest in the world.

10. Do you miss anything day by day that could be improved?

We raise my brother and I at 07:50, we go to high school and we are in class from 09.00 to 14:30, after lunch passes Javi, the coach, to look for us about 16:00 to be on the tennis court 4:30 p.m. Then we return home about 20.00, although there are times we return at 21:00 depending on the days. There are times that I go out before and I'm going to train in basketball in chair but not much that if not already I finish very tired. Then the study schedule is from 20:00 until the time you consider necessary, and then dinner and bed. I miss that, do things like enjoy the free time because it is all very routine and in the end the friends ask me because I do not go to many plans and I tell them that I have to train and prepare tournaments coming. I was aware that I was missing the date with friends because Rio was in between.

11. How important are both private and public aid for athletes?

Essential, more in my case because to be smaller I can not travel alone and expenses are doubled, someone always has to accompany me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all those who have bet for me, those who have trusted, because without them you can not travel and therefore you can not compete or get points for Rio de Janeiro. This world you need to travel and for everything is money. On top I have 3 brothers and my parents can not be all the time taking to different places, has many things to do, so I return to thank all those who have made this dream possible that in the end is thanks to trust Of all. From now on expect that the awards will improve both for players and for anything and that the circuit will be more professional and you do not have to pay all the tournaments to do something you like.

12. Finally, we would like to ask you a Bernat Pivot questionnaire to get to know the person a little more:

  1. Favorite word: Unstoppable
  2. Word you least like: Failure
  3. Favorite food: Eggs
  4. Favorite Movie: Shrek
  5. A memory: In the park with my brother
  6. What causes you the most pleasure: Chocolate
  7. What displeases you the most: False people
  8. What is the sound that gives you the most pleasure: Music
  9. Sound that you hate to hear: Screams
  10. What profession would you like to play: Football player who is well paid (laughs)
  11. Which One You Would Never Exercise: Boxing
  12. If heaven existed and you find God at the door, what would you like me to tell you ?: I have been an example to many people who have gone through the same thing.


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