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Santex Peru Tennis Team!

We have many members of the Santex team who are athletically inclined. For this edition of About Santex People, Percy Sonan and Francisco Verastegui from the Lima office tell us about their passion for tennis.

How did you first get introduced to tennis?

Percy Sonan: I’ve been attracted to tennis since I was little. I used to watch Jaime Yzaga’s matches or highlights on TV, but I always found it a very exclusive sport to try to practice regularly. However, little by little tennis began to get more popular in Lima, and it was in 2009 that Pacho (Francisco) invited me to learn how to play. Soon we became very good rivals!

Francisco Verastegui: From the time that I was little (about 8 years old). I remember watching the Davis Cup games in Peru, during the time of Jaime Yzaga and Alejo Araburú. But I understood that it was rather expensive to play, and because of that I never begged my parents to let me learn. Instead, I’d play sports like badminton and ping pong. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I started to take tennis lessons along with 2 of my former coworkers from a previous job. Fortunately badminton and ping pong had helped me a lot in terms of coordination, and that made it easier for me to pick up tennis. One time, I remember I organized a mini tournament with my former coworkers, and I’d like to do the same sometime with Santex!

When did you realize you were both fans of the sport?

P.S.: Well I must say that if Pacho hadn’t invited me to play, I never would have taken up the sport! I think that because tennis requires a lot of practice and perseverance, in addition to religiously studying the rule books and guidelines, he realized it would be a sport that interested me.

F.V.: As Percy says, I was the one who invited him to play tennis 5 or 6 years ago. I’m really glad he decided to continue practicing and keep improving.

How much time do you spend each week playing?

P.S.: Never as much as I’d like. I only practice about 3 hours per week on average. I dedicate a lot more time to the theory of the sport – watching games on ESPN and stuff – than I do to actually playing.

F.V.: Same as Percy. I play about 3 hours each week, which isn’t as much as I’d like. I also watch tournaments on TV. In my case particularly, I have to be careful because I have back problems and it’s likely that the main cause has been tennis. Although it is a sport that can be very demanding on your back, I think that some of the problems are also due to my lack of experience playing sports (poor warm-ups, lack of controlled movements, etc). Today I’m much more strict with warm-ups and stretching in addition to my diet. I can safely say that my passion for tennis has forced me to improve my daily habits.

How do you manage your time between family, work, and tennis?

P.S.: Lately it’s been pretty easy for us to manage our schedules because we would take group lessons together with Johan Tábori, our PM. We’d have a set time to go play each week and would make sure to never leave each other without a partner.

F.V.: Like everything in life, you get into a rhythm. With work, the flexible hours at Santex is really great for letting employees partake in activities of all kinds. Particularly in Peru, we have our PM, Johan, to thank because he also decided to play tennis with us and helped us manage our schedules.

Who is your tennis idol and why?

P.S.: In men’s tennis, Roger Federer, because he plays with a classic style and is very aggressive. He delights fans by scoring points super quickly (he often wins a game in two minutes or less), and he has achieved everything you could imagine! In women’s tennis, American player Coco Vandeweghe is my favorite. Her technique is impecable, two-handed reverse, and she plays the attack. She is an all-court player like Roger Federer but does not have such “god-like” precision. She makes spectacular points and is always faithful to her way of being.

F.V.: Because of his technique, elegant playing, and the quality of person he is on and off the court, without a doubt Roger Federer. He is considered by the vast majority people to be the best player of all time. Seeing any of his matches, win or lose, you realize he is a master at tennis.

Have you ever participated in any tournaments? If so, how did it go?

P.S.: Very few, only two or three tournaments. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but because of it I realized that the experience gained in a tournament is better than playing hours and hours of friendly matches. After all, the goal is to be in the tournaments rather than just practicing.

F.V.: I’ve played in a few, maybe four or five amateur tournaments. I did not do very well, basically because of the mental aspect. I sometimes psych myself out. It’s something that I have to keep working on and improving.

Do you ever play against each other?

P.S.: We play each other on many occasions, in singles and doubles with Johan Tábori. I think all of us know the strengths and weaknesses of each other, so while still being fun, I feel that a match between us becomes more of a training. I also give a lot of credit to my friend/rival Pacho for his chivalry and respect on and off the court.

F.V.: We play each other often, both in lessons and  tournaments. It is a good experience because over time we have seen how we improved by making the games more interesting and disputed. We still make mistakes though, and someone always says to the other, “Well guys, you have to keep training!”

The Power of Meditation

Gassan Quintar tells us about meditation and how it affects his life

How did you start to take an interest in meditation? How long have you been practicing?

Initially, I was interested in yoga, but I had never made the effort to start. Although it was not on my radar, the word ‘meditation’ appeared on an email invitation from our coworking offices, which said something like “Sessions are intended for all people who wish to take first steps toward meditation.” I thought this was interesting, though not enough.

A friend recommended both the class and the instructor to me, and convinced me to try it by saying wonderful things about this practice. In the end, I decided to go for it.

The email invitation asked the people interested in joining the class to write the reason why they were interested. My motivation was to get into this practice, to learn more about it..

I only needed the first class to know that meditating was exactly what I was looking for, and that through it I was going to gain multiple benefits. Since that time, four months have passed and I still practice it every week.

People often don’t understand what meditation is. Some might think that it’s sitting in a quiet space and falling asleep. What is meditation for you?

People often associate the word “meditation” with thinking or reflecting deeply on a certain topic. For example: “I recommend that you meditate on the topics we were talking about,” etc. In fact, it is much deeper than just thinking. It’s concentration.

From the point of view of my current practice, it is to focus your attention on the breathing in a conscious way. Through various breathing techniques, you train your mind to reach complete concentration. As you do this, other distracting thoughts get removed from the mind.

What is needed to meditate?

It requires several things –  from a yoga mat to a good teacher – to guide you in practice. But the main thing is the willingness to want and believe in what meditation offers. You shouldn’t want to do it  just because it’s “trendy” without understanding the main concept behind the practice.

Some time ago, my teacher, gave us a guide so we could try practicing at home. It consists of 3 steps:

  1. Motivation: Think about why you are meditating. That includes ourselves as individuals and our environment.
  2. The technique of meditation.
  3. Acknowledgment: Being thankful for what allows us to be present, to be part of the experience, and for all that we achieve.

This is a guide not only applies to meditation, but to life itself.

How has meditation benefitted other aspects of your life?

There are multiple benefits. They impact every aspect of our lives – not just ourselves as meditators, but also the people around us.

Meditation develops several virtues, such as the ability to concentrate, patience, discipline, compassion, forgiveness, and love among others.

What tips would you give to someone who has tried meditation but never felt like they have achieved a state of true meditation?

Being ‘in a state of meditation’ comes in different forms that we know how to identify with the help of a good instructor. It’s worth mentioning that we should not go into meditation practice in a state of anxiety, but that we should go with a mindset of perseverance and discipline for the training so that we may develop our minds and the skills we need. It is daily practice and a great instructor that will help you achieve the proper ‘state.’