Chingotto to Padel Alto: ”A dream of any athlete”
PARIS. Today, Federico Chingotto and Juan Tello could make history as the first-ever winners at Roland Garros. But first, Alejandro Galan and Juan Lebron must be defeated. Padel Alto met a happy Chingotto after the semi-final.
How does it feel to reach a final here at Roland Garros?
— It is the dream of any athlete, and I am happy. If I had been told as a kid that I would be playing a final at Roland Garros, where athletes of the magnitude of Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer play, I would not have believed it. It is a dream come true. Sometimes it is hard for us to take dimensions of what we are achieving because we are so involved in the competition. I try to abstract myself from the situation and concentrate on enjoying myself within the 20x10 so as not to generate extra pressure.
What would be the answer if I told a young Fede Chingotto that in 10 or 15 years, you would be playing a tournament final at Roland Garros?
— I think he would sign it without hesitation, haha. I come from Argentina, from a humble place, a humble family. We have fought a lot to get to where we are. I think this is the best gift I can give to all those who gave their all for me, who gave everything, and more. My family and my friends were always by my side. I would tell little Fede that this is real, to wait a little bit and believe because good things will happen.
Against Paco and Martin, you have had several very tough matches this year, all in three sets. Has this been the easiest match against them?
— It isn't easy because they are a great couple, Martin and Paco, who do things well. They are very good friends, so we know each other very well, train at the same academy, and often play against each other. The match was not easy, and I think they made a great approach. We managed to turn it around at a key moment. I think the first point of the tiebreak was a turning point in the match, and it helped me to take that step to the net and gave me confidence in my hitting. I'm very happy with the level, how we played and how the team fought.
Do you think that winning the first set in the tiebreak strengthened you mentally?
— No doubt it did. I don't think either of the two pairs had a chance to break until the tiebreak. The games went by fast because getting the opponent out of the net was tough, and the ball was very fast. I think they felt that blow in the tiebreak too, and it was a step forward for us and a step back for them. At that moment, we tried to maintain the dynamic, we got the break at 2-1, and we managed to close the match with our serves.
Both Juan and you had a lot of winners today. Do you feel comfortable on such a fast court?
— Because I'm short, people think a court like this doesn't favor me, but I think it's the opposite. This court gives me one more weapon, the smash, which I don't always have, and it helps me a lot. I think we adapt well to the conditions.
Last year you played three finals in World Padel Tour but did not get the victory; what do you need to achieve that?
— The experience of playing many. Nerves sometimes betray a little, but I think we are maturing, learning daily how to play and carry out those situations, and we have a great team behind us. The rest is to live in the moment, enjoy and be attentive to those details that make the game go one way or the other. Tomorrow we will try to be attentive to those details to win the final.
Tomorrow you can make history as the first winner of Roland Garros, what do you think about a moment like this?
— I don't even want to think about it. I try to have a blank mind and believe there is one more match left in the 20x10. We will try to win, and if we achieve it, I will be very happy, and if not, I will be very happy because I think we are having a great tournament. I think we are achieving our best version, the one that characterizes us, the one that always fights, and the one that scares other couples. I have a lot of confidence in us, and we will try to stop the number ones who have been playing incredibly.
Galan and Lebron won in 40 minutes today. How do you think the final will be?
— They are a very dynamic couple. They move very well on these courts and set a very fast pace, and it's difficult to stop them. We have already played against them in these conditions and have been close. We will try to neutralize the things they do well, which are many. The interview with Rafa Nadal comes to my mind, where he said that Toni (his uncle) explained everything Federer did well: "He serves better than you, volleys better than you, plays better than you, and that's what you will find tomorrow." We know we have a great opponent in front of us, and we will try to stop all those weapons they have. We will fight face to face and leave our lives, as always.