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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Posted on Mon, Jun. 07, 2004





Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

BY CHARLES BRICKER

South Florida Sun-Sentinel


PARIS - (KRT) - I first met Guillermo Coria in the days before the start of the 2002 Nasdaq-100, when he was barely 20 years old, had mastered only one English phrase (``for sure'') and had only recently returned to the ATP Tour after a seven-month suspension for ingesting a banned substance.

Being from Argentina and so close to Chile, it was easy for people to compare him to another smallish player with spectacular speed and wizard-like hands - Marcelo Rios.

But after a few visits with Coria, it becomes delightfully obvious he and Rios don't twin at all. They have similar skills, but Rios is a brooding, whiny player with no real love of the game.

Coria, by contrast, is a very decent young man with a deep desire to become a great tennis player and who has profited by the slap in the face he received when he tested positive for doping. It should be noted that the ATP agreed that, like many other players, he took the banned substance unknowingly.

Since then, also like many players, he has refused to take dietary supplements or even energy drinks during changeovers in matches because of the chance, however remote, that they might be contaminated, and that might have contributed to his cramping in the French Open final he lost to Gaston Gaudio on Sunday.

When Coria broke up and began sobbing during his post-match news conference, it reaffirmed my belief in his character and integrity. It tugged at you to listen to him talk about his continuing series of physical maladies, and when he said, ``I want out of this story,'' you were nearly ready to cry with him.

By all rights, he should be the French Open champion. His skills are so far ahead of Gaudio's that there is a touch of the ridiculous that Gaudio is enshrined today as the No. 1 player at Roland Garros.

Yes, Gaudio deserves the title. You win the final point, you deserve the trophy. Fine. But we also all know he was completely outplayed for two and a half sets. Coria destroyed him, committing only 13 unforced errors in shooting out to a 6-0, 6-3 lead and took Gaudio completely out of form by almost never allowing him to hit more than one or perhaps two backhands in succession.

If Gaudio tried to manipulate him into a backhand-to-backhand rally, which is his greatest strength, Coria would play a safe ball down the line, with a few feet of margin for error, forcing Gaudio to go to his weaker forehand.

But neither did Coria allow Gaudio to get grooved on the forehand side by mixing the rallies. Playing 8 feet behind the baseline, Gaudio decided not to take Coria's shots early but to try to out-rally him. He had no chance until Coria began to cramp.

And so Gaudio has one the one and only Grand Slam of his career. Like Albert Costa, who won here two years ago, he will not win another major.

It's difficult not to be happy for him. Gaudio is real lunch-pail player who has had to scratch and work for every peso he got as a junior to buy equipment, hire coaches and to purchase flights to tournaments from Buenos Aires. There was no national tennis federation to help him.

He's a career top-50 player who will flirt with the top 10 after this triumph, then fall back with the start of the grass-court and then the hard-court seasons.

As for Coria, he can have the world if he can overcome his emotions. He has many of the skills you find with Andre Agassi - great hand-eye coordination, excellent service returning, great anticipation and strong ground strokes off both sides.

He doesn't yet have Agassi's mental strength or the improved serve Andre cultivated in the middle years of his career. But that can come because he has another of the traits that Agassi solidified five years ago - complete commitment to the game.

A day before the French Open final, I asked Coria if he regrets never having played Pete Sampras. He had a beautiful reply and one that showed how much character he possesses.

Yes, he said. He would have loved to play Sampras, but not on clay. On grass. He wanted to face Pete on Sampras' best surface, to test himself in the most difficult conditions.

He's just 22, not much older than Andy Roddick and the same age as Roger Federer. Three different styles, three great players. Despite the disgrace of this loss in Paris, Coria will be back, and men's tennis, at the very elite level of the game, is in very good shape because of him.

---

© 2004 South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Visit the Sun-Sentinel on the World Wide Web at http://www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 03:22 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Nice article! (Although I wish he wasn't so dismissive of Gaudio.) The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is a publication that frequently has some of the more thoughtful tennis articles out there.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 04:11 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Yes, he said. He would have loved to play Sampras, but not on clay. On grass. He wanted to face Pete on Sampras' best surface, to test himself in the most difficult conditions.

Ah yes. That is Guille.

I surely hope that Guille is able to play at Queens. I love to see him going directly to grass and not shirking anything.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 04:18 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

" El guille" is the best tennis player in this moment in south america, fast handas a great talent and temperament, and when I see the final in the french open, i can't believe it, El gato gaudio plays a emotional 4 and 5 set.
But is a young men yet, AGUANTE GUILLERMO, CHILE TE APOYA!!

Grande Fernando y Nicolás, Thanx for the double world team cup championship in Germany
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 04:53 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by star
Yes, he said. He would have loved to play Sampras, but not on clay. On grass. He wanted to face Pete on Sampras' best surface, to test himself in the most difficult conditions.

Ah yes. That is Guille.

I surely hope that Guille is able to play at Queens. I love to see him going directly to grass and not shirking anything.
I also wasn't crazy about his comments referring to Gaston BUT all was forgiven when he quoted Guille on that Sampras comment. He would want to challenge Sampras on his best surface and not the other way around. It almost brings a tear to my eye.

It'll be no time at all before all the respect I lost on Sunday...returns.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 05:25 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Thats the Guillermo we love.

It's so so heartbreaking but he'll be okay.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 06:24 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Thanks Gretel ...nice article!!
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 07:09 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

I didn't like the Gaston comments either. He could have built Coria up without tearing Gaudio down. But... thanks for the article

I lack direction.

Chocking makes me sad.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 07:15 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Well good to see some of the journalists going out of their way to disrepect Gaudio.

BY CHARLES BRICKER of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Are you looking for a new job working on the marketing team of Coria or something?
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 10:33 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

This is probably the most interesting article I've read about the final. However, and I am no professional observer of the game, I fiercely hope Gaudio will prove the journalist wrong and show his metal. And to me anyway he has, because he won.
The most pertinent remark to me is about Gaudio's lack of lucidity during the game even when he could have won the points ("Gaudio decided not to take Coria's shots early but to try to out-rally him".)
But, the journalist's bias makes him forget to say that although Coria is the better of the two, Gaudio was overwhelmed by the prospect of winning and was not showing his own best tennis during the match: the Gaudio in the final was not the player we had seen for two weeks. And yet he won. So again, I hope Gaudio now truly knows when to play his best tennis!
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 10:39 AM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

What a biased journalist. OK Costa, Gaudio, who else is never going to win anything else in his life?
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 01:47 PM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

I think that Gaudio has always had a beautiful game, but he found a way to lose matches when he should have won. Watching him disintegrate on the court was painful to me, and when I first started watching him it was the thing that made me not want to be a fan. It was just too painful. Watching someone lose and get beaten is not so bad, but watching Gaudio play beneath himself was not something I enjoyed.

To me, Gaudio made huge strides this tournament. He said he worked with a sports psychologist, and evidently it helped him a lot. I hope that this championship brings his game to full bloom and that he continues to have great success.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 01:52 PM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

Nice article but does he have to be soo obvious about his bias? what happened to the art of subtelty?
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 02:06 PM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

If he's going to be biased, I'd rather have it open and honest rather than him pretending to be objective.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 02:58 PM
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Re: Cry for Coria today, and root for him tomorrow

It's wrong that But we also all know he was completely outplayed for two and a half sets.. The third set was pretty tied until the 4-4, 40-0 Coria. then, at 40-15, there was that amazing, turning point.


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