I was born on July 11th, 1993 in Madrid, Spain with a small (or not so small, as my parents thought at that time) “problem”: several leg deformities. I was missing my right femur and knee, meaning that my right leg was (and is) very short, and my left leg had several malformations for which I later required surgery. Years later my parents told me that they had never had any experience with anyone with a physical disability and that their first reaction was one of disbelief and fear. At that time, their main worry was whether I would be able to have a relatively normal life. They were completely unaware, like everyone else, that we would have to thank my disability for many successful and joyful moments in my life.
I am now 26 years old and, after obtaining a degree in Economics from the University of Warwick (UK), I have become a professional wheelchair tennis player. I work hard day after day to make my dream of becoming the best player in the world come true. I look back and thank my disability because it has made me stronger, has forged me and made me the person I am now.
I managed to combine my studies with playing tennis at a high level while at school and university.This would not have been possible without passion and drive, as I had to endure demanding situations requiring much sacrifice, time management and grit (I think talent is overrated). During my first year at uni I qualified for my first Paralympic Games in London 2012, a truly special moment as they were my first Games and because of the effort it took to be there. My father, who was my main support and mentor, died in April 2014. I decided to finish that academic year studying like I had never studied before in order to be able to finally embark full-heartedly on my tennis career with a first-class honours degree in economics under my belt.
Daniel Caverzaschi junto a su hermana y primo.
I have been at the top of Spain’s national ranking for seven years and am currently ranked 11th worldwide. In Rio 2016 I was awarded my first Paralympic diploma and in 2018 I made it to the top 15. In Tokio 2020 I became the first spanish wheelchair tennis player awarded with the Paralympic diploma in the singles draw and in 2022 I made it to the top 10 in the world ranking. But the best is yet to come. I dream of leading the world ranking one day.
Over the years I have continued to evolve, trying to grow in many ways; obviously as a player, but also as an individual, as a brand ambassador, as a reference for others and even as an entrepreneur. I constantly seek to improve my work ethic and try to develop my values, and will not relent until I reach my goals.
My other passion is motivating people to see problems as opportunities for growth and differences as advantages if they are taken on with the right attitude. This led me to create the fun hashtag #ValeLaPierna (tweaking the saying “vale la pena”, which means “it’s worth it”, by replacing “pena” with the similarly sounding “pierna”, to end up with what literally means “it’s worth a leg”) to try to normalize disability with humor and to encourage people to fight, no matter what their circumstances. I want to eliminate stereotypes and break paradigms in our society so that anyone can meet life’s challenges and fulfill their dreams.
I invite you to accompany me on this beautiful (and tough) journey called life.