SINGAPORE May 12 Former top 10 tennis player and grand slam doubles champion Emilio Sanchez is planning a tennis academy in Singapore to be part of the city-state's S$1.3 billion ($1.05bn) Sports Hub, local media reported on Thursday.
The 45-year-old Spaniard -- elder brother to former women's world number one Arantxa Sanchez Vicario -- is a founder, with Sergio Casal, of Barcelona's world-class Academia Sanchez-Casal.
Next in his sights is an Asian tennis academy.
"We believe in Asia, there is a demand... and a good possibility of sharing tennis with studies, and we believe the place for that is Singapore because of the language, connections and positioning, and the willingness of Singapore to open to the world through sports," Sanchez told Today newspaper.
Sanchez's facility in Barcelona features 27 tennis courts of different surfaces, classrooms, a fitness centre, swimming pools, dormitories and a medical centre for around 120 student-athletes.
There is much to be settled, however, though the Spaniard remains confident.
"At the moment, we're still very far away from the basics of the project and it's very difficult to commit anything now," Sanchez said.
"We'll see in the next month. I'm always positive and hopefully we find a way. The EDB (Economic Development Board) and SSC (Singapore Sports Council) are working very hard to find a solution with Sanchez-Casal to arrange things.
"Hopefully there's some good news soon."
(Reporting by Ossian Shine; Editing by Greg Stutchbury. To comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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($1 = 1.236 Singapore Dollars)