Well it isn't an article really, more comentary, but I always love to read stuff like this that is old and looking ahead.
Around the World with Mr. Ed (February 17, 2001)
by Ed Toombs
We pay tribute this week's to three of the hot hands in tennis, veteran Magdalena Maleeva and Argentine adolescents Guillermo Coria and David Nalbandian. And we also pay tribute to some intrepid Davis Cup warriors who literally had hot and cold hands.
Teenage Argentines shine in South America
It is well known that Argentina has become not only the dominant South American tennis nation, but also one of the world's tennis powers. The presence of seven Argentines in the top 100 (all ranking mentions will refer to the Entry Ranking) speaks for itself. And just in case anyone might think that this success is a flash in the pan, consider the emergence of two former junior stars now making waves on the tour: Guillermo Coria and David Nalbandian. The teenagers 18 and 19 years old respectively stood out at this week's tournament in Viña del Mar, Chile, with Coria reaching the semifinals (as of this writing) and Nalbandian the quarterfinals.
Coria's rise to prominence from the junior ranks, where he was the world's best in 1999, was startling. He began 2000 with a ranking of #737, and by year end he was already checking in at #88. Late last year he showed he was more than ready for the big events by outrageously dominating the tough Copa Ericsson Challenger circuit in Latin America, winning four straight tournaments on both hard courts and clay. It took tour regular Gastón Gaudio to bring Coria's 20-match winning streak to a close, at the season-ending Grán Copa Ericsson.
This season Coria has shown no signs of nerves at the bigger tour events. He has already reached the quarterfinals in Bogotá, in addition to his fine showing in Chile this week. His youthful good looks, dynamic tennis and confident swagger has already made him a major draw at the South American tournaments, and even made him the subject of a photo shoot at the Australian Open. The rest of the world will surely be discovering Guillermo Coria very soon.
If Coria is the hare of South American teen tennis, David Nalbandian is the tortoise. A year older than Coria, Nalbandian was also a junior star in the late 1990s, notably winning the 1999 U.S. Open final over Roger Federer and losing to
Coria in the 1999 Roland-Garros final.
David struggled initially to make his mark at the professional level, but on the strength of successive quarterfinals in Bogotá and Viña del mar appears to be ready to rumble on the main tour now. The discreet Nalbandian, one of the rare redheads in Argentina, has impressed observers with a mature, all-court game that makes up in precision and variety what it might lack in power.
Certainly all eyes will be on the two rising teenage stars when the ATP makes a stop in Buenos Aires, for the first Argentine tour event since 1995.