In 2012, 26-year old Nicolas Almagro is having his strongest year since turning professional in 2003. Compared to his fellow competitors, Nicolas (Almagro Sanchez) often called “Nico” started later than most at a relatively mature 8-years old. Nico’s favorite shot is his forehand. Unlike most of his compatriots, he still uses a one-handed backhand which often puts him in a defensive mode. Like his fellow Spaniards, Nico’s surface of choice is clay.
Unfortunately that is also the favorite of high-profile players Rafael Nadal, the 2012 French Open bookmaker favorite and 6th seed David Ferrer. In his quarterfinal match on Wednesday, Almagro will be up against the odds and the world’s best clay courter, Nadal. Like Nico’s teammates, Nadal seems to have a mental edge over his Spanish comrades.
Many of his peers believe that Nico’s achievements this season can be attributed to a more aggressive training regimen developed by fitness trainer Martin Gonzalez, who has worked with Almagro since 2009. However, the biggest change has been a shift in coaches. Nico as responded well to sage advice from his new but veteran tennis coach Samuel Lopez, who helped Gonzalez redesign a fitness protocol that has increased Almagro’s stamina and all-court coverage.
It is this quality that has enabled Nico to extend points and wear down opponents. For the 12th seeded Almagro, his quarterfinal run at the French Open began with straight set wins over Paolo Lorenzi, veteran Marcos Baghdatis, Leonardo Mayer and in a upset over 8th seed Janko Tipsarevic. When he faces Nadal I the quarters, Nico’ slate is clean, having not lost a set. In fact, he has looked dominant. Of course, Nadal brings a whole very different mentality to the court, but Almagro has learned to compete against other favorites. His biggest battle tomorrow may well be between the ears.
|Item||Year To Date||Career|
|Birth Place:||Murcia, Spain|
|Birth Date:||21 August 1985|
|Height:||1.83 metres (6 ft. 0 in.)|
|Weight:||84.1 kilos (185 lbs.)|
|ATP Singles Titles:||2||12|
|ATP Doubles Titles:||0||0|
|Grand Slam Singles Titles:||4th round Australia||QF 2011 French|
|Grand Slam Doubles Titles:||0||0|
|Win Loss Record – Singles:||34-11||267-178|
|Win Loss Record – Doubles:||NA||NA|
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