Brazil's Seyboth Wild, who is through to the final of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago, is hoping to become the youngest player to win a title on the ATP Golden Swing since his idol Rafael Nadal did so in Acapulco 15 years ago.
Wild plays Norwegian sensation Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday. Speaking to the ATP Tour website, Wild says, “I honestly don’t even know where to start… it’s just amazing. Rafa is a player, I don’t think anybody is going to do in 200 years what he’s done on clay or even reach his tennis level or win the tournaments he won and be the person he is.
But if I could accomplish like 15, 20 per cent of what he’s done in his life, it would be amazing. I think that every match you win at an ATP Tour event, it gives you so much confidence, it gives you so much strength to believe in yourself, to play better as the matches go by.
I think it had a pretty good [impact] on what I’m doing this week. “[It’s my] passion of playing tennis, how much I like the sport and how much I like to compete. I think it’s a thing that all South American players have.
We’re just more emotional than Europeans. Maybe we’re like Australians, like Lleyton Hewitt was. It’s something different that we have. Not necessarily better, but different”. Wild is only 19 year old and says he knows he has a lot to develop in the coming years.
"I think that’s the good thing about being 19, because I’m already in an ATP Tour event final and I still have a lot to develop. So I still have a lot of space to grow, I still have a lot of things to develop in my game.
We can always do something better every day. The fact that I know that and the fact that tennis players know that, it’s what moves us, it’s what makes us wake up every day and want to go practise and want to beat ourselves every day.
That’s what keeps Roger Federer winning tournaments every day. He’s behind Nadal [right now], but we can’t all be Nadal, we can’t all be Federer. It’s just the motivation that we have”. The 19 year old is also aiming to become the first Brazilian since Thomaz Bellucci at 2015 Geneva to win an ATP Tour title.
"I want to be the best player I can be. Better than I am every day. I don’t have a goal of titles, I don’t have a goal of ranking. I just want to do my best and be happy on court”.