Fernando Verdasco reached his first Grand Slam semifinal when he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the Aussie Open. He faces his top seeded compatriot Rafael Nadal for a spot in Sunday's final.
In his post-match presser, the 25-year old gave credit to sponsor adidas for their unrelenting support including the opportunity to train in Las Vegas with Gil Reyes:
I need to say thanks because I didn't say before to adidas. Is because of my brand, no, that I had this chance to be with Gil in Las Vegas. You know, there is a development program for the players of adidas, you know, with Gil Reyes. They help us so much.
Some players, they don't like maybe or they don't want to do it. But me, because I don't have coach, you know, I decide to go there. Also because Agassi was my idol when I was young, I decide that it was, for sure, a good experience, that I will learn so much. So I took that decision.
Right now I'm feeling much better than before. They help me so much. They treat me unbelievable there. You know, I can't wait to go again there to start practicing again.
As I wrote about previously, the adidas-sponsored trip to Las Vegas also allowed Nando to spend some time learning from his childhood idol Andre Agassi:
[We spoke] about a lot of things. It was about the tournaments, how I should organize my year of tournaments. You know, I was asking him, you know, "This tournament, you think I need to play, I don't need to play, I need to practice these weeks, this week no. He was just giving me advices about, you know, what he thinks about all this, about what tournaments I need to play or which weeks I need to practice and be ready for the big tournaments. Also, after, about tactics, no, and about my game, how he thinks that I should play more and take more advantage of my game.I guess if you're going to learn about winning, especially in Oz, you might as well speak with a 4-time champ like AA.
You know, we was speaking for two hours, so we spoke a lot. But he really help me so much. I'm so happy to had that conversation with him.
I'd be curious to know more about adidas' development program, how it works, and what they offer in terms of support for their ballers and, also, why more of their ballers don't take advantage of it. I bet there are requirements and stipulations that may be viewed as restrictive.
But based on Nando's recent results, I'd say their other ballers should think about jumping onto this bandwagon.
(image via AP)