In his greeting he clarifies that he prefers to be called Dani, very polite and friendly while he attends this newspaper on his way from the Palma airport to the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in Manacor, where they polish him to get to be with the best. That Dani in question is Dani Rincón, an 18-year-old tennis player who can boast of being a Grand Slam champion, although his success at the US Open last weekend was in the junior category, which is no small thing. He says that it is not used much to appear in the newspapers and explains that he is a happy Avila in Manacor. “Although it’s cold here in winter too, eh? Now, it is easier to get used to living here than to return to Ávila, although it is very beautiful ».
Even in the junior category, being a US Open champion sounds good.
It is a tournament with quite a name, really. It means a lot to me to win it, I’m very happy. But I know that I have nothing done and I have to continue working like every day.
He must impose seeing his name among so many illustrious players.
It means a lot because it is a tournament that I watched since I was little, since I started watching tennis. When I started playing, I also looked at the junior tournaments and seeing myself on the list, with those players, is something important.
It is also true that there are many names that later got lost along the way, it is very difficult to jump from the category to the elite.
Right now I am very well positioned in the junior ranking, doing good tournaments, but what is done in the junior does not mean anything with a view to professional tennis. There is a long way to go and now comes the really important and difficult part, where you have to try even harder. Now is when things really get tough.
Do you need to be stopped or do you have your feet on the ground?
My parents or coaches have always told me. They have always told me that things could be very good, but then that doesn’t mean anything because we have to keep working. There have been very good people in juniors, number one with several Grand Slams, and then they have not arrived, so be patient. And there have also been people who did not stand out and then they have become one of the best in the world professionally. I said, this really does not mean anything. It is a very great motivation, but I have to continue.
He went to New York by the hair, his meniscus was damaged.
Yes. They told me that my meniscus was torn a month and a half or two months ago, that I would not be able to play until the end of September. But I asked them to give me a chance and in the end I was lucky that it was good, we worked on the right line and I was able to arrive in good condition.
They talk about you, you are in the newspapers, you do interviews like this … How are you doing?
It’s kind of weird to me, I’ve never received so much attention. Many people calling, many people congratulating … I am very grateful, but it is true that it is all very big for me. I did not expect this and I have to focus on continuing to train, it is what will put me on the ground again.
For years there has been talk of the void to which tennis is exposed when the generation that Nadal has led is not around. But Alcaraz has broken, you take the junior, Ane Mintegi won at Wimbledon … Are there reasons to be excited about the future?
There has always been the fear of what will happen after Nadal, but like him there will be no other like him. However, there is a very good generation of boys. Carlos (Alcaraz) is the best by far, but others are behind doing it more or less well. If we continue in this line, it may be that in a few years Spanish tennis will continue at the top.
He trains often with Nadal. Do you give advice? The question?
Yes, I have been lucky enough to be able to do it several times. I have total respect for him and at first I was ashamed to even say hello, but he is a very close person and he has tried to help me a lot. He gives me advice and I am totally grateful for his support.
He was talking about Alcaraz. What is your opinion of what you are doing?
Is a very good friend. It’s amazing what he’s doing. It is difficult to believe that a person with whom I have been so close for so many years is so far away and competing with the greatest. He has worked very hard and has great talent. It will stay up there a long time.
How would you define yourself as a tennis player?
I am a little different from the Spanish tennis player. I like fast tracks better. What I do best is take out and I try to go to the network as soon as possible. In the background I have balanced shots, I don’t throw too strong or heavy, but I try to take a little space and get into the net. I play harder.
And now, what steps do you have to take?
First, training, that is the main preparation. The way forward is to continue playing the ITF circuit of 15,000 and 25,000 and if he is good at making the leap to the Challenger before the ATP circuit. It’s complicated.
It involves sacrifice, something that, as has been said, is not abundant among young people today. Do you agree?
Being in Rafa’s academy, which is the main example of sacrifice and dedication … It is one of the main values that they instill in us here.