Coria Reflects On Buenos Aires Challenger Success
Former World No. 3 prevailed at home in 2000
Despite retiring seven years ago, Guillermo Coria is still in peak physical shape. Watching him walk, there’s little difference between the 34-year-old Coria today and the 18-year-old teenager who won four consecutives Challenger titles to make his debut inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings in November 2000.
The former World No. 3 still vividly remembers winning the ATP Challenger Tour title that month in his hometown of Buenos Aires. Facing former World No. 8 Alberto Berasategui in the final, Coria delighted the local crowd by prevailing in a deciding set. He said the match, and in his time overall in Challengers, was pivotal in setting him up for the outstanding ATP World Tour career he went on to have.
“I owe everything to Challengers. Having a circuit of Challenger tournaments in South America was so fundamental for me,” said Coria, speaking from this week’s $50,000 event in Buenos Aires. “Alberto had so much experience, but I had the whole crowd on my side. Winning a tournament at home against a player at that level gives you so much motivation for what can happen next. When I played the final of the Argentina Open against Carlos Moya, I was ready because the Challenger there had given me experience in handling that type of pressure.”
Coria made an appearance this Thursday at the Challenger in Buenos Aires to give a kids’ clinic and observe some of the rising stars in South American tennis. From his own experience, both the tournament venues in Buenos Aires and the city itself have all the ingredients to spur on the best tennis from players.
“The stadium was always full. Even as a Challenger, it always felt like an ATP World Tour event,” said Coria. “Having those experiences gives you a lot of confidence and helps you grow as a player.”
The 34-year-old Coria is confident that the growing brigade of Argentine players in Challengers will also continue to benefit from those experiences. Argentina has produced nine Challenger winners this year that have combined to win 15 singles titles.
“It’s very impressive, but I think this trend will continue and having Argentina in the Davis Cup final this year will only help that further,” said Coria. “Argentine tennis is very strong now and these group of players deserve it. They haven’t been handed anything and have had to fight for it all."