Last year, there has been a little bit of controversy regarding the Argentina Open (then called Copa Claro) qualifications, as when the time came to sign up for them, doubles specialists ended up in the draw instead of young locals who could have had the chance to have a taste (sometimes a first) of an ATP World Tour event.
This year, the organisation changed things and gave several young players their chance to measure up to the ATP guys, and many of them, used to the life on the ITF Pro Circuit, got their first taste of the big Tour.
Such was the case of Martín Rondina. An habitué of the Futures, the 23-year-old, currently ranked 1,787 in the world, had he surprise of his young career when he heard that he was receiving a wild card into the qualifications.
If he lost 6-0, 6-2 to World n°156 Marco Cecchinato of Italy, it still was a couple of days to remember for the Argentine, who talked about his experience with BATennis World afterwards.
BATennis World: When did you find out that you were to play the qualification of the tournament and that they had given you a wild card?
Martín Rondina: I found out yesterday at 9 PM, when I entered. I was listening to [Martín] Jaite [NDLR: the tournament director], who was talking on the microphone. I heard my name and I couldn’t believe it until I saw the draw and that I was on it.
BATW: How did you react? Did you expect it?
MR: How I reacted? I was very nervous. I was shaking, so happy to have realised a dream! I really didn’t expect it. I went to sign up to be at peace that I had done it and, incredibly, I entered so I was very happy.
BATW: What are your sensations after playing your first ATP match?
MR: Indredible! To see all the people applauding you, people that you don’t know cheering you, it’s a wonderful feeling. Truth is that I’m very happy. As I said, it’s a dream come true. The sensations: joy and happiness. The ATP is another life and it’s wonderful.
BATW: From a tennis and personal point of view, what do you take from your first experience in an ATP tournament?
MR: What I take from it is that I was able to enjoy it and play loose throughout the whole match. So I’m very happy not to have been tense or nervous and to have enjoyed it with my folks. What I’m taking from it is an incredible experience, the type that if you don’t live it, it’s not the same as if you’re told about it. It was incredible.
(Photos: Atu Ruhle for Hans Ruhle Fotografia)