SEVILLE, SPAIN: Former player and Davis Cup captain Emilio Sanchez was honoured with the Davis Cup Award of Excellence on Saturday. The award was presented by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and former recipient Manolo Santana in an on-court ceremony before the start of play, after which Sanchez joined Spanish fans in the crowd to enjoy the weekend’s re-match of the 2008 final.
A member of one of Spain’s most prominent tennis families, Sanchez competed in Davis Cup for his nation 12 times between 1984 and 1996, compiling a 32–23 record. In 2005, he took on the role of captain, and in 2008, he led the Spanish team to the Davis Cup title in Mar del Plata. Sanchez was also part of the Spanish teams that won the Hopman Cup in 1990 and the World Team Cup in 1992.
“Emilio Sanchez was a great contributor to Davis Cup for nearly two decades, as a player, captain, and dedicated supporter of the event,” said Ricci Bitti. “In recognition of his achievements and in appreciation for his contributions to the sport and to Davis Cup, we are proud to present him with the Davis Cup Award of Excellence.”
Since 2001, the ITF and the Hall of Fame have presented the annual Davis Cup Award of Excellence to a person who represents the ideals and spirit of the Davis Cup competition. The award was developed to recognise the importance of Davis Cup by honoring individuals who best represent the ideals of the competition's founder, Dwight Davis.
In addition to being a great contributor to Spain’s Davis Cup efforts, Sanchez was one of the nation’s most celebrated players. In 1988, he won the men's doubles titles at both Roland Garros (with Andres Gomez) and the US Open (with Sergio Casal), and the same year partnered Casal to the men’s doubles silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. He won Roland Garros again with Casal in 1990.
Sanchez also won two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, at 1987 Roland Garros with Pam Shriver and later in that year at the US Open with Martina Navratilova. During his career he captured a remarkable 50 doubles titles and was ranked world No. 1 in doubles. In singles he has 15 titles to his name and reached a world ranking of No. 7.