"When I'm not playing, I can do all sorts of things, but most of the time I enjoy some peace and quiet, the best is still to read a book." For once that a top athlete is fond of books, we couldn't miss the opportunity to discuss it with him: blank pages and back cover interview with Pablo Andujar, semi-finalist in Madrid this year.
When you're looking for a book without any specific idea, what is the shelf towards which you head first?
It depends. I enjoy reading just about anything, biographies or adventure novels, even self-help books. Actually, it's what I'm reading at the moment: a treaty which, I hope, will bring me some mental tools that I will be able to use in my career.
And what is your favourite kind of novels?
I love historical novels. My personal favourite is perhaps La Sombra del Viento (in English the Shadow of the Wind, ed), by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a book released about ten years ago and very famous in Hispanic countries.
Can you briefly summarize us the plot?
The action takes place in Barcelona, just after the civil war: it's the story of a child fascinated by a book and who decides to track down the author, who’s missing. Through the investigation, you discover how was Spain at the time, during the Franco regime and at the end of World War II in the world. There’s a real drama in this book, with suspense, history, and sometimes a little unexpected humour... It's amazing.
Abroad, Spanish literature is famous for its historical narratives. Is it a particularly vivid subject in Spain?
I don't know why, but it's true that we have many talented novelists in this field, like Ruiz Zafon, Eduardo Mendoza or the most famous abroad, Arturo Perez-Reverte and his series Captain Alatriste. They are very good to make fictional characters evolve throughout history. Places also have a great importance, and scenery, like Barcelona for example, is as character in its own right.
Are there other kinds of books that you like?
I love thrillers, detective novels and all American classic authors in general such as John Grisham, who wrote many books that have been turned into films.
There are two schools of thought on this: Are you the kind of person who run to see the films adapted from a book, or you do you flee them in order to remain faithful to your imagination?
It's actually simpler than that: I don't have time to go out! And it's the same for music. My last concert must be a musical, many years ago. But I already know what I will do for my next night out, a gift from my girlfriend: we're going to see Adele in concert next time she comes to Spain. I just hope that I won't be in a tournament halfway around the world at that time!
You play in a club in France, the Blagnac TC. Did you ask French players for advices to discover the country’s authors?
(Surprised smile) Talking books with the French? No, I'm not talking about books with French players. Maybe one day, who knows, but not yet!
Interview by Guillaume Willecoq