Coria wants to win everything, including French
HAMBURG, Germany, May 18 (Reuters) - Guillermo Coria remains the
ultimate claycourt specialist and his defeat in the Hamburg Masters
final does not mean he should be ruled out for the French Open.
"I want to win every tournament I enter and the French Open is no
exception," the Argentine world number three said before leaving for
Paris for the highlight of the claycourt season starting next Monday.
Coria, 22, decided to go to the French capital straight after losing
in four sets to world number one Roger Federer in Sunday's Hamburg
final and to spend the week there to prepare for the Open.
Before Federer stopped him, Coria had won 31 matches in a row on
clay, including all 16 he had played this season. The last time he
had lost on the slow surface was his semi-final defeat to Dutchman
Martin Verkerk at last year's French Open.
"I'm not sad because the streak has ended but I'm sad because I
lost," he said. "I hate losing, especially in finals."
Coria could have looked for excuses as a burst blister prevented him
from holding his racket properly in the final and even Federer said
he had noticed his opponent had a problem.
But the Argentine preferred to think positively and point out that
he was physically fit after recovering from an abdominal injury that
had kept him out of the Barcelona and Rome tournaments.
"It's still a bit of a problem and I have to slightly change the way
I serve but it did not really bother me," Coria said after playing
his first tournament since he won the Monte Carlo Masters last month.
Coria, who was named after Argentine great Guillermo Villas by
tennis-mad parents, was introduced to the sport as soon as he could
walk by his father, a tennis coach.
Now coached by compatriot and former top 10 player Alberto Mancini,
Coria knows all about winning at Roland Garros as he captured the
junior title there in 1999.
One of Federer's main rivals in the junior ranks, Coria made his
breakthrough last year by winning the title in Hamburg, just as
Federer had done the year before.
He captured five titles in seven finals last year and has kept it up
this year with two titles from four finals.
His metronomic groundstrokes and devastating returns added to rare
mental strength make him the player nobody wants to face on clay.
Umpires are also sometimes less than happy to see him as he has a
reputation for complaining frequently about line calls, an attitude
probably linked to his extremely competitive nature.
Coria warned his rivals that he was still improving.
"I'm a better player," he said. "I'm stronger mentally. That comes
from experience and from winning matches."
A suggestion that he might be the world number one on clay made him
"That might be the case but that ranking does not exist," he
said. "Anyway I'm not too interested in rankings. What I want to do
is win tournaments."
Like the French Open?
"Why not? That would be nice."