Empathy and determination, the technical official’s job

Madrid Spain Masters 2024 (MSM24) by Iberdrola is making unstoppable progress, with a steady pace and excellent matches.

The organisers are working tirelessly to give the best to the players. Today we highlight the excellent work of the technical officials team, and we have had the great opportunity to interview the four Spanish umpires of the tournament, Amparo Meca, Nieves Brao, Adolfo Caballero and Yeray Castillo. In this edition, out of the 18 members of the technical officials team half are men and half are women, a balance that rarely occurs in tournaments.

We highlight this different view from the best chair, equally full of passion and commitment, that of our international umpires who officiate the Madrid Spain Masters 2024 by Iberdrola. It takes a lot of commitment and preparation to get to where they are today. That knowledge and passion, usually contained, makes them essential for every match.

“The tournament is being wonderful, I invite everyone in Madrid to come and watch it because the level is being very high and you can feel the pressure from the stands,” says Nieves Brao enthusiastically. “It’s being very exciting, there are many players who are fighting to get those last points in the final qualification phase before Paris24 ” says Amparo Meca, also excited. Her passion for badminton is evident. Yeray Castillo, now umpiring for Ireland, explains “coming back home always has a special taste, coming back to officiate with the Madrid audience after a few years away is a very special tournament for me”.

Physical and mental preparation also play a very important role, Adolfo Caballero highlights “I am very calm, very confident, and as the teammates help a lot, the matches are carried with tranquility and a lot of confidence”, and of course enjoying. “Just now I have just officiated a match with a world top player (Pusarla V. Sindhu, 11 of the world ranking) and I am really proud to be able to umpire people that I have seen since I was a little girl on TV, for me real luxury,”, says Nieves Brao. “I’m feeling very comfortable, the atmosphere and having the best players on the planet this week in Madrid is easily enjoyable,” she adds. “As we umpires say, always from the best chair and trying to be as fair as possible, and enjoy the good badminton” remarked Yeray Castillo.

All of them agree that knowledge of the rules is fundamental, although there is more to the skills needed to be a good umpire. Amparo Meca highlights the human aspect. “For me, the qualities of a good umpire, apart from experience and good knowledge of the rules, is the human touch on court. Empathy with the players, feeling the game, knowing what is happening on the court, would be the most important thing for an umpire“. Nieves Brao also shares this vision, “a good umpire above all has to be able to feel what the players feel on court, always go hand in hand with the players, not influence them negatively, but always positively, and at the same time be firm enough to take the game in the direction we want to take it”.

Empathy and determination, and of course certainty, dedication and experience. “In the end, umpiring is a hobby,” says Yeray Castillo. “We always focus on giving our highest level, so that we can give the best of ourselves,” remarks Amparo Meca.

Passion and love for the sport taken to another level. Everything with the ultimate goal that the tournaments takes place in the best conditions for the athletes.

Thank you very much Amparo, Nieves, Adolfo and Yeray.

If you want to be part of this globalisation, remember that the Madrid Spain Masters by Iberdrola offers you an excellent opportunity. From Tuesday to Friday access to the venue will be free. If you want to see the semi-finals and finals in person, you can buy your tickets here.

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