Argentina's Juan Ignacio Londero had his breakthrough season in 2019 - reaching the fourth round of the French Open, winning the Cordoba Open and reaching the finals in Bastad to finish the year ranked a career-high No.
50 in the world rankings. In an interview with La Nacion, the 26-year-old Cordoba says he never dreamed of having such a successful season. "I didn't imagine so much. On December 31, 2018, I wanted to enter the Top 100.
That was my first goal. I was 112th in February when I started the Cordoba tournament and I didn't know if I was going to finish the year among the top 100, because I had to defend about 500 points in 2018 and the maximum I had scored was 250, 280 points.
Besides, I had always had to fight. I was like three years between 180 and 250 in the rankings. In 2017 I went to 350, to 400. In 2015 I had mumps in the preseason. It was very hard, I was in bed for a month, with a high fever, my lip was open like a flower, I couldn't see the brightness of the phone.
It's hard for me to hold the weight, however, With that preseason it was the first time I reached 70 kilos and with the mumps, I went down to 64, 63 I wanted to die! For all that, what happened to me this year is unforgettable."
Speaking about winning the Cordoba Open in February, Londero says, "I really wanted to play it. My coach [Andrés Schneiter] had been telling me that I was already at the ATP level, that I could win games. I played the first match against Nicolás Jarry, it was not easy because in our last game I had won 6-1 and 6-2, a year ago.
But I looked forward to it, I won and as the games went by I focused more. I never imagined that I could win the tournament to the last point. I really wanted to play that kind of tournaments, I had never done an ATP tour like that, with Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Rio and San Pablo.
In 2018 I had finished playing well, winning challengers in Mexico and Marburg. But I was afraid to take the next step on the circuit. Likewise, in Córdoba, I did not enjoy it so much. It was all so fast that I didn't even notice.
Londero adds that the level on the ATP Tour is much higher as compared to the Challenger level and he is trying to become better by watching the behaviors of others. "The intensity is much higher in ATP, obviously. And I noticed the difference in the professionalism that each one has when he faces the workouts, the food, the rest.
The Top 10 are better because they are good and also because they are in every detail; They know how to handle. I'm not seeing much tennis, I'm not a fan, it's not that I get to my house and I get a video of how Federer hit the ball at age 15, but I pay attention. And this year was a lot of learning. I watched everyone's behavior."