Roland Garros

Navone and the mentality that the next game is always the most important

The Argentine debuted with victory in the final draw of a Grand Slam

May 28, 2024

Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

Mariano Navone is currently No. 31 in the PIF ATP Rankings.
By Staff

Mariano Navone is the first player in the Open Era to be seeded in his first Grand Slam main draw. The Argentine, 23 years old and No. 31 in the PIF ATP Rankings, played his first match in a major tournament this Tuesday, and emerged victorious, taking away another valuable lesson in the meteoric rise that he has witnessed in recent times.

“I never set a goal of wanting to reach a certain ranking,” Navone confessed on Tuesday after beating Pablo Carreño Busta 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. “What I always like to do is make the next game the most important. Now I play with Machac and the most important match is going to be Machac, and then if I win it will be the next one, but I don’t go much further than that,” she continued. “Everything I am experiencing with tennis is because I am experiencing it today and I am not going crazy about what is going to happen tomorrow. Obviously, I know that I am the first main draw debutant in history to go as a seed, and a lot of other things that I know I did. But for me the most important thing is to go game by game, continue gaining experience and try to compete as well as possible.”

With a record of 12-7 in ATP Tour tournaments in 2024, Navone began the season outside the top 100 (125 in the world) and in six months he starred in an impressive rise, built with two finals (Rio de Janeiro and Bucharest) and a Challenger title (Cagliari). That opened the doors for him to reach his first Grand Slam final draw at Roland Garros, and as a seed. A very different experience than what happened in 2023, when he played the qualifier in Paris, losing in the first round.

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“This is my second time here at Roland Garros,” the Argentine recalled. “It’s a different situation because I play in the main draw. Obviously, the infrastructure of a Grand Slam, the players you see, the courts you use… the other day I had the opportunity to enter the Philippe Chatrier and it is another sport. What drives a Grand Slam is impressive: lots of people, packed stadiums that collapse, accommodation or food, that you can eat whatever you want at any time you want. It’s a lot easier to be able to play that way.”

For Navone, in addition to the satisfaction of the victory, there was something else: the option of sharing it with his team, who were present in Paris to see his debut in the final draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

“It is very nice that your family is present at any tournament, but in a Grand Slam… the hug we have given with them off the court has been impressive. They have grown up watching me play: G1, G2, G3; eternal trips that ended in the first round. Today we can be giving ourselves the pleasure of celebrating my first victory in a Grand Slam. The best thing is that my sisters are there; One of them lives in Australia and I don’t see her much. They had not had the opportunity to travel to a large tournament and what I wanted most was for them to experience it. We are very close as brothers and it is very nice to be able to enjoy this together, really special.”


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