Sal Castillo wins Indoor National Championship
Boise--Sal Castillo of San Antonio, Texas won the United States Tennis Association's gold national championship ball at the Boise Racquet and Swim Club February 20th. Castillo beat top seeded Fred Robinson of Charlotte, North Carolina 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in Men's 55 Indoor National Championship.
The clash of tennis titans was a hard fought battle that saw lead and momentum changes and with a service break in the final set that sealed the victory for the college tennis coach. "I've played him before, so I know what he likes to do," said Castillo. "He played as good as I have seen him play, and I played as well as I can play and it was a quality match."
There were very few unforced errors in the two-hour 55-minute battle. Castillo said that it was the type of match that you had to go for broke to win the long, drawn out points. At 5-4 in the third Castillo made a mental declaration to shut out the match. "I told myself that I had to go for it. I knew he wasn't going to give it to me, he's a warrior, I had to take it."
Fred Robinson never dropped his head in the match, even after corner to corner gut-wrenching rallies, the top-ranked US senior player was the picture of steadfast and calm, constantly looking for cracks in the Castillo armour, but finding forged steel. "I looked up on a couple of passing shots and missed," said Robinson. Both players agreed that was the difference in the third set.
One of the worst kept secrets on the tour was Castillo's rehabilitated knee. The four time World Cup Champion has a long history of wins, but after a freak on-court accident in a doubles match last year, Castillo wondered if he would ever play at this level again, but proved in Boise that he is back. The Texan ran down balls in a spectacular show of mobility athleticism.
"You have to pace yourself," said Castillo. You can run down every ball of every match, unless you are faced with defeat then you have to go for it, You have to know when to go for it or not to a certain degree. You play percentages if you're in command of the match, especially on the senior circuit, on the ATP tour you got to go for it on every ball, and that's why guys like Nadal get hurt, but in the finals you got to go for it."
Despite the hard fought match, Castillo will leave Boise without the gold championship ball, he sent it to San Diego. His doubles partner had a heart attack on the eve of the tournament. "I told him I thought I had a good shot of winning it," he said. "I told him that I was going to try and win this for him, because he couldn't make it." Castillo goes home empty handed back to San Antonio, but with a surprise National Title in the record books.