How two years in France molded Miranda Ramirez

first_imgMiranda Ramirez knew how important her decision would be. When she moved to Club Med Tennis Academy (Florida) in 2014, she worked with two or three of the coaches before picking one to travel with her to tournaments going forward. From the time Ramirez turned to professional coaching at 8 years old, she sought long-term relationships. While other players flipped coaches every few months, Ramirez lasted at least two years with each coach she had, her father, Santiago Ramirez, said. That made finding the right coach essential. Then she met Thomas Finck. He used a one-handed backhand like Ramirez, was picky about footwork and expected his players to always get the ball back in play. He was a perfectionist, he said. Just like Ramirez. “We are very similar people,” Ramirez said. “We got along so well. I just love him. He’s great.”Her time touring tournaments in Europe and working with Finck molded her into the player she is today for No. 28 Syracuse (11-8, 4-6 Atlantic Coast). Finck, a professional coach for 13 years, said his mentality is to “kill the point, hurt your opponent,” and “being aggressive from the baseline and any time you can, come to the net.” The remnants of that mindset shows in Ramirez’s current play. In her 13 singles wins this season, she’s looked to end points early. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn late 2014, Ramirez noticed that the deeper into tournaments she got, she matched up against Europeans who favored a strategic game centered on shot making. Her childhood had taken her to various places. She traveled to San Antonio, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; and finally, Florida, where she first trained with Finck.Based in the south of France, where Finck grew up, Ramirez traveled through Europe and parts of North Africa. Outside of her family, he became everything, Ramirez said. Her best friend. Her coach. Her mentor. Santiago and Finck described it as a brother-sister relationship. “Thomas to this day is a great guy,” Santiago said. “Love him to death, and he did everything right by us.”Amy Nakamura | Senior Design EditorFinck played professionally in France before moving to Florida. Ramirez’s parents, meanwhile, placed her into numerous other activities — karate, ballet, hip-hop dancing, soccer — because they wanted to make sure tennis was “her choice,” Santiago said. She enjoyed them, but when her parents asked what she wanted to do the following year, she wanted to be back on the court. Between practices and matches, Ramirez and Finck’s bonds grew. They shared breakfasts, lunches and dinners on the road. They were constantly in each other’s company, playing card games or chess.“If she has a problem and she doesn’t want to speak to her dad or her mom, I have to be the one that is there for her,” Finck said. “She can talk about anything, even something personal.”After losses, Finck also listened. He remembered a Ramirez third-set tiebreaker-loss in Copenhagen, and when she came off the court, she cried. She had lost to the same opponent a few weeks ago, and as the match progressed, she rushed shots, Finck said. Finck hugged her immediately afterward and they talked about non-tennis things. In Tunisia, after another tough loss, he did the same. Ramirez responded with two tournament wins in Netherlands and France and reached a semi-final in Portugal. When the wins racked up, Finck’s message was validated. Ramirez listened to him more and their relationship strengthened. In practices, Finck could see her put in extra work. It translated to matches, like with Ramirez’s improved forehand. As her time in France ended and the prospect of attending Syracuse loomed, Ramirez and Finck had to “move forward,” he said. The final decision was always hers, and Finck was supportive of that decision and still is. He said it was “a shame” and “a heartbreak,” but it was a good idea for her to come back to the United States. In her three years at SU, she’s continued developing. At her game’s core, Finck’s message remains. “You have some players that, … where once they reach their level or next stage, they stay there,” Finck said. “They stay in their comfort zone. With Miranda, she was more always trying to look about something different.” Comments Published on April 2, 2019 at 12:22 am Contact Arabdho: [email protected] | @aromajumder Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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