Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

Popular This Week

Net Notes - A Tennis Now Blog

Net Posts

Industry Insider - A Tennis Now Blog

Industry Insider

Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

Second Serve


By Nick Georgandis

Gaston Gaudio took on the game of tennis at the age of six and turned pro when he hit 18.

He was more talented on clay than any other surface from the get-go, and made at least the third round of the French Open three times in his first five years playing the tournament. By contrast, he made it past the second round of the other three Grand Slam events just five times in 22 attempts.

For his career, he went 210-109 on clay with all eight of his tour-level titles. Compare that to a meager 48-66 record on hard surfaces.

Gaudio was ranked 34th in the world at the start of the 2004 campaign, and struggled early in the clay court season, bounced in the first round at Buenos Aires by No. 111 Jose Acasuso and in the second round at Acapulco by No. 135 Guillermo Canas.

He turned his season around starting at Barcelona, entering the field 39th. He barrelled past No. 9 Carlos Moya in straight sets in the third round, then advanced by retirement against No. 23 Gustavo Kuerten while leading 3-6, 7-6(5), 2-1. His hot streak ran out int he final against Tommy Robredo in an epic 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 match, but the run improved him to No. 27 on the year, and exactly one month later he entered Roland Garros unseeded but playing very well on the red dirt.

Unseeded, Gaudio found himself in the same section as defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, but never had a chance to unseat the champion. Ferrero was stunned in straight sets in the second round by Igor Andreev, while Gaudio upset 14th-seeded Jiri Novak in the same setting, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

He and Andreev clashed in the fourth round, with Gaudio taking a straight-set win to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

He was the only non-seeded player in the final eight, but didn't let it deter him. In the quarterfinals, he crushed 12th-seeded Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, then gave the same treatment to eighth-seeded David Nalbandian, a 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-0 loser.

Third-seeded Guillermo Coria, like Nalbandian and Gaudio a native of Argentina, awaited in the final, having dispatched of Moya and Tim Henman along the way. The powerful Coria looked like a shoe-in for the title, taking the first two sets 6-0 and 6-3, but Gaudio evened things with wins of 6-4 and 6-1. In a lengthy fifth set, Gaudio took an 8-6 triumph to win Roland Garros.

In 2005, Gaudio would win five tournaments, all on clay, and ascend to No. 5 in the world. He entered the 2005 French Open as the fifth seed, but fell in the fourth round to David Ferrer in five sets.