(CNN Spanish) — “Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action that takes place in an atmosphere of total tranquility,” said Billie Jean King, winner of 20 Wimbledon singles, doubles and mixed titles and four Roland Garros.
Francisco Cerúndolo fits the phrase of the iconic tennis player perfectly. His shots are lacerating, they shoot like lightning, his tremendous repertoire proved itself in the atmosphere of absolute elegance and tranquility that is Eastbourne (south of England), where he conquered this weekend -with fascinating aplomb- the first ATP 250 on grass in 28 years for Argentine tennis. He defeated American Tommy Paul in the final with partial scores of 6-4, 1-6 and 6-4.
The iconic Guillermo Vilas was the first to win a tournament on grass. He did it in the 1974 Melbourne Masters to be crowned back-to-back (1978 and 1979) at the Australian Open, which was being held on this surface at the time. Javier Frana was the other Argentine racket to take the top step of the podium on grass when he won the ATP in Nottingham in 1995.
“I never imagined I’d win a title on grass,” said Cerúndolo, who at 24 is ranked 19th and currently the best Argentine racket on the ATP circuit. This brilliant moment of the Buenos Aires tennis player takes on more dimensions if one looks at history. Other brilliant Argentine rackets reached decisive instances, but couldn’t be crowned on a grassy surface. David Nalbandian was a finalist at Wimbledon 2002 and Queen’s 2012. Juan Martín del Potro was a bronze medalist at the London 2012 Olympics and a semi-finalist at Wimbledon 2013. Guillermo Coria and Guillermo Cañas were finalists at the tournament in Hertogenbosch (Netherlands).
Sport, religion in the family and love for music: “I always sing”
Francisco Cerúndolo was born in Buenos Aires on August 13, 1988 in the context of a family where sport is liturgy. His father, Alejandro, was a professional tennis player in the 80s, and it is he whom Francisco idolizes. Juan Manuel, his 22-year-old brother, is also a professional tennis player, he won the ATP 250 in Córdoba in 2021. His sister Constanza won the gold medal with the Lionesses in field hockey at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games .
‘Fran’, as the vast majority call him, declares himself an admirer of Roger Federer and David Nalbandian. He says that he loves watching movies through the Netflix platform; his favorite movie is Gladiator, his favorite series is Prison Break and his favorite actor is Matt Damon.
Being a singer is something he is passionate about. “I sing all the time,” he says. His favorite artists are Bad Bunny and Bob Marley.
His secret talent is math. “I love anything to do with numbers,” she admits.
He is currently studying management with online teaching at the University of Palermo. She frankly admits that she likes genres like rock, pop and that she loves reggaeton. She loves eating asado, classic Argentinian food, and also hamburgers. Like all of her family, she is a fan of River Plate.
Your style of play
He is right-footed and has a two-handed backhand. His flat and very powerful shots give acceleration to the ball, managing to impose conditions on the opponents. The poise with which he stands is fantastic. His large physique, arm and shoulder width, and talent for administering a large repertoire of strokes generate admiration. He takes risks with aggressive shots throughout the game. He has had ups and downs within the same game, which he has adapted, as well as another aspect of the game that has improved: his serve. Like all Argentine tennis players, he feels very comfortable on clay, although he performs well and at ease on any surface. “Today you can play well on grass, it’s not as fast as before,” he said.
Debut and first tournaments
In 2018, he turned pro. His coach is Kevin Konfederak. In 2021 he reached the finals of the Santiago Open and the Concepción Challenger, both in Chile. In the same year he was a finalist at the Buenos Aires Open and won the ATP Challenger, Croatia Split Open. In 2022 he has shown growth in his game and ranking. He won the ATP 250 tournament in Bastad (Sweden) beating his compatriot Sebastian Baez in the final. He was also a semifinalist at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro. He had poor performances while touring Europe and the United States on hard surfaces. However, that all changed in Miami, where he made it to the semifinals. He ended 2022 as a semifinalist of the ATP 500 in Hamburg.
His walk in a few more tournaments on the circuit in 2023
-Australian Open: for the first time he got past the first round of a Grand Slam, defeated Guido Pella and Corentin Moutet before falling to Félix Auger-Aliassime
-Miami Masters 1000: was eliminated at the hands of Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals
-Masters 1000 in Rome: fell in the quarterfinals against Casper Ruud
-ATP 250 Lyon: lost in the final against the local Arthur Fils
-Roland Garros: lost in five sets to Holger Rune in the round of 16
Now comes Wimbledon, his favorite tournament, in which Djokovic is the absolute favourite
After establishing himself in Eastbourne, Cerúndolo sets his sights on a third Grand Slam of the year. On the London grass, his debut rival will be the Portuguese Nuno Borges, with whom he has not had previous clashes.
On the field of the All England Club the top seed is Novak Djokovic, who will want to extend his reign. The Serbian is aiming for his fifth consecutive title at Wimbledon, which if he achieves it will reach his eighth crown on London grass. He would reach the chilling figure of 24 major tournaments.
His main opponent is the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, new champion of Queen’s and current number 1 in the world.
Below is an elite of lurking tennis players looking to strike. The constellation of stars is made up of shining rackets such as Daniil Medvedev (3, in the ATP ranking), Stefanos Tsitsipas (5), Alexander Zverev (21). They were joined by youngsters such as Jannik Sinner (8) and Holger Rune (6) who showed a repertoire of great strength. We will also have to watch out for players like Frances Tiafoe (10), Sebastian Korda (25) or Cameron Norrie (13), who dream of making history.
To them we must add Francisco Cerúndolo, who arrives with morale on the rise, as well as his top-level tennis. Fran’s favorite city is Rome, but she would like London to become an unforgettable place in her life, given that her dream is to win Wimbledon, the tournament she admits is the one she is most passionate about.