Navone reveals his talent in the Caja Mágica

The Argentine competes in his first Masters 1000 in Madrid

April 24, 2024

Albert Nevado/Mutua Madrid Open

Mariano Navone connects a service at the Mutua Madrid Open 2024.
By Staff

The emergence of Mariano Navone is one of the stories of 2024 and the Mutua Madrid Open seems like a perfect notebook to follow the story. The Argentine, who this week debuts as a world Top 50, attracted the first attention on the clay of the Caja Mágica, where he can finish supporting his arrival at the first level of the ATP Tour. In the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of his career, excitement accompanied every shot of the South American in a dream debut.

The No. 41 in the PIF ATP Rankings became strong on the Madrid clay, beating Australian Alexei Popyrin 7-5, 6-2 to star in one of the moments of the day. Managing the altitude conditions with mastery, the Argentine got rid of a hard-hitting rival with notable experience in this type of tournaments.

“I didn’t have much time to adapt,” said Navone, who reached the final in Bucharest last week. “I arrived on Monday night, I trained yesterday and today I went out to play. Yesterday I started to feel comfortable in the first training session. That was a great peace of mind. I started to feel confident on the court, I come from winning good games and confidence adds up. Today I was able to play a good game against a great rival, a boy who plays well and has been involved in this circuit for a long time.”

“It is still my first time in Masters 1000. I played in the previous four Grand Slams but after that I had not competed in these events. The tournament is crazy, we are not used to this type of tournaments. Obviously I am happy to take advantage of this opportunity and have my first ATP Masters 1000 match won, which I think is something very nice.”

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“We have been working a lot, trying to do everything possible to be as high as possible. It is still my debut in Masters 1000 where everything is new. I hadn’t even played a qualifier before. This year I have made some big leaps and have reached a final draw. “I am taking advantage of the opportunity in this beautiful tournament that I am loving.”

Navone’s words are full of reason. The Argentine surprised everyone in February, climbing from the qualifying table to the grand final of the Brazilian ATP 500. A monumental result that he confirmed after crossing the ocean, with the semifinals in Marrakech and the final in Bucharest as revalidation. With the exception of the qualifying phase of the Australian Open, the Argentine has played the entire season on clay, a platform where he wants to leave his mark.

“We want to find my best possible level,” he explained. “Before Roland Garros there are many important tournaments and matches. I think it’s important to focus on the moment I have now, on the level I reached. At Roland Garros I can be seeded or not, it still depends on many victories. The time will come to think about that. There is another game on Friday and I have to continue enjoying it.”

“The environment is key. I trust a lot in what Andy tells me. [Dellattorre]my trainer. He is the one who has the experience in this, the one who knows more than me. I’m trusting what he tells me day by day, I’m growing. If he tells me that we have to do this, we’ll both pull in the same direction. My physical team is preparing me in the best way so that I can be playing at this level. Every time I physically do some jumps. From a mental point of view, the final in Rio came very suddenly and served to tell me that I could play at the level. Later, in Marrakech I finished confirming that level to play with 40-70 in the world, I have it and I can fight every game. That left me calm and I am entering into that dynamic in each game.”

On his path to greatness, Navone will face a very special reward. The Argentine will face world No. 12 Holger Rune in the second round, one of the most powerful tennis players in the locker room. Never before has he measured such a highly ranked rival, a challenge that he embraces with both hands in the Spanish capital.

“It is the first game that I am going to play with one of the most important players that this circuit has,” Mariano stressed. “As I always say, everything I’m doing, all the games I’m playing I’m enjoying. The most important thing is always to enjoy. It’s going to be a very tough game. We are going to prepare everything to try to beat him, to go out and compete as equals. It will be nice to enjoy because it will surely be a big field. It’s something that I always wanted to do as a kid.”

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