Late in his career, Roberto Bautista is playing his best tennis, now he also shared his whole tennis and life story.

The Spaniard was a solid part of Top 25 of the ATP Ranking since winning his first ATP title back in 2014. Bautista continued in his improvement also in 2019 when he reached career-high 9th place. In 2020, he managed to win 9 of 12 matches played before the Tour suspension. Now, Roberto shared his life and tennis story with behindtheracquet.com.

“My mom passed away in 2018. I was at the club I used to train at when I got a call after practice. I found out my mom went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It was 100% unexpected. She was very young, only 52 years old, but was supporting a lot of stress from taking care of my father. Back in 2016, my father was in an accident. My father fell while he was cleaning our horse stables and became paralyzed. It was days before the Rio Olympics, which I almost decided to skip, but ended up going in the end. My father was in bed in the next room when my mom passed away. It was an incredibly tough four years. From my father’s accident, he became a quadriplegic, couldn’t move from the neck down. He used an artificial breathing machine since he couldn’t do it himself. We had two people, plus my mother, who took care of my father 24 hours a day. Then when my mom passed away, my wife and I had a lot of work considering that he needed all day help. We added a few more people to the team to help him,” Bautista said.

Difficult moments during Bautista’s career

“When I was younger and had easier problems to deal with, I would focus all my energy and sadness on the court. That helped me when I got older and dealt with my parents. It wasn’t easy, there was no time to rest. I would practice and then use my free time to go home and visit my father in the hospital or the house. It was extremely difficult. I knew that during this time I could not stop playing. I had to help my father. In the beginning, we didn’t know how much the treatments would cost or all of his operations. I had to keep working. I know that besides the money playing tennis is what my father wanted for me. My parents wanted me to make my dreams come true no matter the situation. I kept playing and fought harder than I ever did. That was my way of making it worth it,” said Bautista.

“During this horrible time is when I played some of my best tennis. I am sure people cannot understand that. I was there for my family as much as I could, but I couldn’t throw away what I have worked all my life for, I wanted to keep working, and harder than ever, I never gave up. It was November of 2019 when my father passed away. It was during the Davis Cup match against Canada. I got to be with him his last few minutes and played a match 24 hours later. It was what my father wanted for me. His passing was a little unexpected but my family knew that it could happen any day or month. Even though I knew this, once your father passes away you face that. You face the loss of another parent and there are no words. These tough moments made me stronger and more powerful. It gave me a strength others didn’t have. Through all the tough times I had at home and didn’t want to travel because I was so tired, it made me who I am. It made me more focused and motivated. I did everything I could to fight hard on the court to show my mother and father that their hard work was worth it,” Roberto Bautista said.

Soccer as part of Roberto’s career

“Soccer has always been a passion of mine. When I was younger I played for Villarreal until I was 14 years old. It was not an easy decision but I am very happy that I am playing tennis. I do miss playing for a team a lot but looking back I am lucky to choose tennis. It was difficult to leave all my friends on the team and to lose a dream of yours. It is not easy to make a life decision like that at 14. I don’t regret it but after a couple of years of tennis practice, I could never have imagined the sacrifices you needed to make to become a pro tennis player. It’s fun when I get the chance to play soccer with some of the guys now,” said Bautista.

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“My mom passed away in 2018. I was at the club I used to train at when I got a call after practice. I found out my mom went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It was 100% unexpected. She was very young, only 52 years old, but was supporting a lot of stress from taking care of my father. He was in the bed in the next room when my mom passed away. Back in 2016 my father was in an accident. My father fell while he was cleaning our horse stables and became paralyzed. From my father’s accident he became a quadriplegic, couldn’t move from the neck down. He used an artificial breathing machine since he couldn’t do it himself. We had two people, plus my mother, who took care of my father 24 hours a day. Then when my mom passed away and it was all on my wife and I. I would practice and then use my free time to go home and visit my father in the hospital or the house. I knew that during this time I could not stop playing. I had to help my father. In the beginning we didn’t know how much the treatments would cost or all of his operations. I know that besides the money playing tennis is what my father wanted for me. My parents wanted me to make my dreams come true no matter the situation. I kept playing and fought harder than I ever did. That was my way of making it worth it. During this horrible time is when I played some of my best tennis. I was there for my family as much as I could, but I couldn’t throw away what I have worked all my life for. I never gave up. It was November of 2019, when my father passed away. It was during the Davis Cup match against Canada. I got to be with him his last few minutes and played a match 24 hours later. It was what my father wanted for me. His passing was a little unexpected but my family knew that it could happen any day or month. Even though I knew this, once your father passes away you face that. These tough moments made me stronger and more powerful. It gave me a strength others didn’t have. It made me more focused and motivated. I did everything I could to fight hard on the court to show my mother and father that their hard work was worth it.” @robertobautistaagut Go to behindtheracquet.com for extended stories, podcast and merch.

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Author: Erik Virostko