06:38 AM GMT November 13, 2014
When Javier Sanchez retired in 2000 he didn't really get very far from the tennis courts. That same year he decided to buy the GreenSet company and revolutionise the way courts are made, with a player's perspective in mind.
The company, established in 1970, currently makes the courts for tournaments such as the BNP Paribas Masters at Paris, the Swiss Indoors Basel, the Valencia Open 500 and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London.
"When I retired in 2000, I bought the company that was based in France and took it to Barcelona," Sanchez, President & CEO of GreenSet, told ATPWorldTour.com. "It was a revolution to go from the extremely fast indoor courts we had to what we play ontoday. We now have better quality courts that are consistent in every tournament."
The key to success for Sanchez was to "talk to the people who fabricate the courts and tell them what I saw as a player - the lack of consistency among different tournaments. Thanks to that idea, they created a formula that made the ball bounce evenly on centre courts, external courts, practice courts, etc. We try to make everyone comfortable no matter where they play."
But sometimes, GreenSet has to take other factors into consideration. "We change the courts we use in Bogota, because of the altitude," said Sanchez. "The conditions out there are so different, that we make [the court] slower so it's more even. The Bogota court is so slow that here in London it wouldn't fit. It would be almost as slow as a clay court and players wouldn't like it."
So how long does it take to build a court? "Here in London, it's the fastest we've ever built it because we couldn't use the arena earlier," explained Sanchez. "Normally it takes three days, but here it only took 42 hours, working day and night."