Juan Mónaco will be playing his first final since Gstaad 2014 this Sunday, in Buenos Aires, a tournament which holds many dear memories to him. He was the winner there in 2007 and he will play the championship match of his home tournament for the third time in his career.

On top of it, his performance at the Argentina Open will enable him to return to the top 50 for the first time since April 2014.

BATennis World’s Diego Amuy had the chance to catch up with “Pico” just after his hard-fought 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4 semifinal win over Nicolás Almagro, and ahead of the final against his good friend Rafael Nadal. An interview in which he went all heart out, as always.

All heart out
All heart out

Diego Amuy: What does it mean for you to be in the final here, in Buenos Aires, with the public cheering for you…?

Juan Mónaco: It’s impressive. It’s beautiful. I’ve always had a very special affection for this tournament which gave me the possibility to play my first ATP tournament, to win my first ATP match. Three years afterwards, I won my first ATP title here and I’ve always had wonderful moments that are still in my memory. And now, 11 or 12 years after playing my first match here, to be back in another final gives me a great thrill, so now I will try to rest, eat well, and give it everything in the final.

DA: I’m taking you out of the tournament a little. We have a lot of contact with junior players and they always tell us that you help them a lot, most of all to Diego Schwartzman, and there are many more. I know that it’s not something that you talk about and that you’re not doing it for the people to see. But I would like to know why this is important for you.

JM: Because when I was a kid, perhaps I didn’t have that kind of support. So I try to help so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to them, since I had to go abroad, be alone for a long time.

With Diego Schwartzman, I’ve had a nice relationship for a long time. He’s been coming to train at my place for four or five years. I try to advise him, to give him a hand. I also do it with a lot of kids from Tandil.

But I try to keep this only between my coaches and my folks in Tandil. I don’t have any reason to make any of this public. Truth is that they speak well of me because they feel it that way. That’s the most gratifying, what makes me happiest.

Mónaco alongside Diego Amuy
Mónaco alongside Diego Amuy

DA: What does Rafael Nadal mean to you?

JM: Rafa is a great friend on the tour. I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve shared a lot of things off the court with him, and on court as well. We nearly almost practise together. I went to his place heaps of times and he goes to Mallorca several times. He’s a great friend beyond everything tennistical. We all know that he’s a genius. He could become the best player in history if he continues winning many tournaments and if he could get once again to his best level. He’s an excellent tennis players, one of the best in the world, but he’s also a great guy with a very good heart and a very beautiful family.

Juan Mónaco: a man who always goes with all his heart, on court and even more so when the cameras are out.

(Photos: Atu Ruhle for Hans Ruhle Fotografia)