Carlos Sanches is a familiar face at tournaments around the world. The ATP Supervisor keeps things running behind the scenes while the on-court action headlines the show.
In January it was the turn of the Sanches’ hard work in the background to be recognised as he was named Tennis Personality of the Year at the Gala Do Desporto, considered the most prestigious sports awards in his homeland.
“Of course, I’m proud to get this award,” Sanches told ATPTour.com this week. “This is like a recognition of my career and [while] it was important to [me] personally, [it is] also important for officiating. It’s not about me, but the work.
“[It was a] special recognition to put my name on that award. Normally we [supervisors] don’t show up, we are behind the curtain, so it was something new.
“I had the support of the Portuguese Tennis Federation which was important, and it was thanks to them also because they knew my career and they wanted me to be selected for this award.”
Sanches enjoyed a brief change of scene at the glamourous ceremony, which is held annually and shown live on Portuguese television. “It was the first time I went to awards like this, and it was a nice experience seeing so many people,” he said. “It was packed, there were crowds, all important people around that were invited for different sports. It was a very good experience.”
Sanches started his career as a chair umpire before he became a tournament supervisor for the ATP Challenger Tour in 2001. In 2006 he moved onto the ATP Tour, where he has worked ever since.
All this experience means Sanches is well-placed to identify some basic principles for good officiating. “Always be fair, make the right judgements at the right time,” he said. “Be calm, try to have good communication with players and with the tournaments. Those are the qualities I think an official needs to have.”
Like everyone else on tour, Sanches is used to life on the road. In 2022 he has already worked in Adelaide, Cordoba, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro, and he now looks forward to the European clay-court swing. The travel schedule can be tough, but he enjoys the variety the tour brings. “I think all [the places] have something special,” Sanches said, “And it’s [just] part of our job.”