Jordi Cambra: Leading RCT Barcelona-1899 into the Future

Jordi Cambra He has been president of RCT Barcelona-1899 since 2018. A club that is celebrating its 125th anniversary, which he has attended since he was 6 years old. Now 68, he intends to run for a second term this fall.

What would the founders say if they saw the club now?

That many things have changed, but that they can be very proud. We have given it continuity and positive evolution. I doubt they believed it would have continuity like that. When Ganduxer Street was left for the current headquarters, with Carlos Godó as president, half of the partners dropped out because it seemed too far from the city. Now we have found ourselves surrounded by apartments and schools. We cannot grow, but we reinvent ourselves.

What makes RCTB different?

There are several factors, with all due respect to the other clubs. We were the first as a tennis club and we have the name of the city. That made us have a very marked tennis tradition. The supremacy has been notorious thanks to people like coach Joan Ventura. And when tennis began to be known, we were the first to organize a world tennis competition. In the 20s. And the ‘boom’ of the Davis Cup in the 60s, on the talisman court. We do other things, but tennis is still king. There is no other club, that I know of, that has had champions or international players as recognized as we have had, in terms of Grand Slam champions, tournament champions, men and women. And members of the Davis Cup team.

The impression is that Catalan and Spanish tennis is now suffering to have more players.

We have been lucky to have Rafa Nadal, now Carlos Alcaraz. The competition is getting bigger and bigger. It is also a question of streaks. As a club we try to have the best club tennis school, but our goal is to train good players and good people who can combine studies with tennis. If some professionals come out later, they are welcome. But nowadays you have to dedicate yourself from the age of 12 or 13, and it is not the profile we work on.

Which tennis player has impacted you the most?

Bjorn Borg, who I played against in a junior tournament. The first to start traveling with a coach, Bergelin, who began to interpret tennis as ‘I put myself at the bottom and now you can win points from me if you can’. He became a professional very young and had a beastly physique. He also impressed me with how strong Becker served, Sampras too. At the time Laver, Santana’s class, obviously. And who I have admired the most, Rafa Nadal.

Twelve-time Godó champion.

He has been able to win even by playing poorly, because he is so superior. In the first points he made points that we had never seen. That drive, the banana, arriving very forcefully to hit a winning blow. He has also been able to improve over the years. And I admire him for his behavior on the court. I think he is the only one from whom we have never seen a bad gesture on the track. Even Federer broke rackets on his day.

What would it mean to have him with Alcaraz?

It would be nice if they played, a Nadal-Alcaraz final would be fantastic. Tickets have sold like never before. It’s lucky for everyone to have them. We have provided all the facilities so that they can be a reality. Let’s see what happens.

The installation is what it is. The ATP demands more and more from tournaments.

It is a challenge year after year. Also an economic challenge, it belongs to the club, to the members, we run the risk. The ATP talks about possible changes now. We have to maintain being the best 500 tournament possible, at all levels. By bringing the best tennis players we have, making the facility as welcoming as possible for the public and sponsors. And exploit our value and assets, which being a club has an attraction that others do not have. It generates an environment that tennis players value highly, and it must be worked on and exploited to the maximum. Also make it a meeting center for networking, exchange of projects and ideas, contacts. Create a very attractive hospitality. Let the experience be more than tennis, let the tournament be about watching good tennis, but with other interesting and fun activities. What we call ‘Disney effect’, that whoever enters the tournament finds a pleasant environment.

What if you have to leave the club?

If we have to go out, we will think about it, we will study and we will evaluate. The tournament brings inconveniences for members, it is a tremendous puzzle. I’m amazed at how well the team does at organizing it. For the member it is a month and a half without enjoying the club, but the majority are proud that it is done here. Economically it also helps the club, yes. And we want it not to be just a tournament of the RCT Barcelona, ​​of the posh people of Pedralbes, that Catalan and Spanish tennis also feel theirs. This is happening and the U-14 boys and girls tournament helps us a lot. The Godó tournament is an asset and we will fight to keep it, because it is good for the club and for the city. If one day the needs of the ATP force us to leave here? It’s possible. We will evaluate it and see how we do it.

What does the tournament mean to you?

I’ve been through everything. I have played it, the previous one, I didn’t make it to the big picture. I am president of this club because I love it and I have been coming since I was six years old. I have been active in sports, I have been social champion of all possible events, team champion, in Catalonia and Spain. It’s part of my life. At Godó I have even helped the referee, Miguel Lerín. He handled the day-to-day routine of which court the players should go to, when there was a problem I went. He said if a ball was good or bad, in the era of Panatta, Taroczy, Tiriac, Nastase. The tournament is the club’s Major Festival. I remember the final between Gisbert, who was from the club at the time and everything that meant, and Mulligan. To Orantes and Higueras, my friends. I played until the Galea Cup (under-21 teams). I watched my friends Javier Soler, Ángel Giménez, and José Higueras play Godó, and I had a certain healthy envy. I continued studying. At that time the players were not as isolated as they are now, you went into the locker room, you lived with them. I only have good memories and tennis has helped me a lot.

As president, he has had to experience situations like the coronavirus.

We have had extraordinary episodes. In 2020 it was not done, in 2021 it was restricted and in 2022 it rained. And on the 23rd Nadal was injured, but we had an Alcaraz-Tsitsipas final, which was a success. We got out of the coronavirus well because we suspended the tournament in time, and we were also right to organize a restricted Godó in 2021. But I had a very bad time in the 2022 Godó, which rained like never before, with two days in a row cancelled. People got very nervous, whether to play or not, whether or not we returned the tickets, which we did.

Now we are in the dry season.

We have got it right with the flagship sustainability project. Once the electricity is finished, we can now say that we water the slopes and plants with recycled water. It is a pioneering project, with tests that at first did not go well because there were traces of soap, the water made foam. In the end, with Agbar we were able to make it viable to reuse gray and rainwater.

Jordi Cambra, president of the RCT Barcelona-1899

Pere Puntí / Propias

Is it worth being president?

It’s worth it because I love this club, although I have a better time playing tennis than in meetings or meetings. If it has improved and we meet the objectives, which I think we are achieving enough of, it will be the satisfaction of a job well done. If the result was negative, I would evaluate it negatively. We owe it to our partners, we cannot lower the level of excellence. But this is not incompatible with the fact that it has always been a supportive club, now with the Foundation. We have the school with almost 400 children at risk of social exclusion, in ten districts of the city.

Will he run for re-election?

My intention is to continue, if my family and health allow me. There are many things left to do. The covid stopped things, we must consolidate the Foundation, the reform of the tennis school. We need tracks outside as an escape valve. And he worries us about where Godó is taking the evolution of the ATP. You have to be there, close. We operate a lot in areas and are very independent. Everything is very well worked out and reaches the Board, which agrees on it. That makes my job a lot easier, I feel very supported by the executive team and the Board.

2024-04-13 05:00:00
#Borg #impressed #admire #Nadal


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