Gastón Norberto Gaudio
(born December 9, 1978 in Temperley
, Buenos Aires
), nicknamed El Gato
), is a professional tennis
player from Argentina
. His career-high ATP
Entry ranking was No. 5 in 2005. His most significant victory is when he won the French Open
Gaudio is one of the most unpredictable players in the modern game, as he is capable of spectacular shotmaking especially with his outstanding single-handed backhand and clever dropshots and within a short timeframe can self-destruct, which leaves himself and tennis fans in general frustrated with his inability to attain a level consistently enough and something that Gaudio acknowledges.
Gaudio started playing tennis at the age of 6 and was ranked one hundred forty-five in the Argentine juniors behind Mariano Zabaleta. He turned professional in 1996 and in 1998 he won two ATP Challenger event in Santa Cruz, Bolivia over Luis Adrián Morejón and finished year by winning in Santiago defeating Karim Alami.
Gaudio won two consecutive Challengers in Nice
defeating Jacobo Díaz
and Markus Hipfl
respectively. Gaudio's first notable performance was when he reached the third round at the French Open
as a qualifer, so he won 5 matches in total at the event, including coming back from two sets down to love in the second round against Bernd Karbacher
to win 6–7(3) 4–6 6–3 6–1 6–4, then losing to world number 6 Alex Corretja
in the next round .
2000 saw Gaudio establish himself on the main tour and won his only challenger for the year in Braunschweig
over countryman Franco Squillari
6–4 6–7(2) 6–4 .In addition to his Challenger title, Gaudio made semi finals in Auckland
and in his most impressive performance of the season was his semi final appearance in the Monte Carlo Masters
where he defeated Marat Safin
, Felix Mantilla
, Julien Boutter
and Juan Carlos Ferrero
without losing a set, before losing to Dominik Hrbatý
. Gaudio made the final of the Stuttgart
even losing in 5 sets to Franco Squillari
and played in the Olympic Games
losing to Vladimir Voltchkov
in the first round.
Gaudio made his Davis Cup
debut in and helped Argentina
return to the World Group
after a 5–0 winning record in his singles matches which were all played at home on clay
. While there was no debut title, he made the final in Viña del Mar
losing to bitter rival Guillermo Coria
, he would avenge that defeat to Coria in a hard fought contest in the quarter finals of the Buenos Aires Open
, which involved both players making gestures and insulting each other at regular intervals after this victory he lost in the semi finals to Jose Acasuso
. On the hardcourts he made the quarter finals in the Miami Masters
defeating Yevgeny Kafelnikov
and Juan Carlos Ferrero
along the way.
Continuing on from his successful Davis Cup
debut. In 2002 Gaudio defeated Ivo Karlovic
in the fifth match to secure a semi final place for Argentina
. Gaudio won first ATP tournament in Barcelona
without losing a set where he defeated world #1 Lleyton Hewitt
in the semi finals and then trashed Albert Costa
6–4 6–0 6–2 in the final, who later would become the French Open
champion that year. Gaudio followed up the title in Barcelona
by winning Majorca
the next week where he defeated world #2 Gustavo Kuerten
in the semi finals before defeating the Finn Jarkko Nieminen
in the final 6–2 6–3.
Gaudio made the fourth round of the French Open losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero 6–7 6–1 6–7 6–2 6–4, while leading 4–1 in the final set and this inability to close out matches when in a winning position has been a constant fixture in his career. After Roland Garros Gaudio made the final in Gstaad and the semi finals in Kitzbühel losing on both occasions to Alex Corretja. In the Davis Cup semi final against Russia Gaudio was leading 5–1 in the 5th set against Yevgeny Kafelnikov and had a match point which was overruled by umpire Jorge Dias in Kafelnikov’s favour who then went on to take the set 8–6 and the match.
There were no titles for Gaudio in 2003, but he was involved in two controversies, the first of them involved Guillermo Coria
in the Hamburg Masters
, where they were part of an all-Argentine
semi final line up the others being David Nalbandian
and Agustin Calleri
. Gaudio and Coria played in one semi final and after Coria won the first set and then Gaudio won the second set. Coria took an injury timeout for cramps and then after the timeout, Coria, after breaking serve at the change of ends beats his left breast while staring at his opponent, which Gaudio took as an insult. Coria preceded to win the last 6–0 and was moving around the court without problems and there was allegedly a confrontation after the match in the locker room.
The other was the Davis Cup semi final against Spain in Málaga, where the two top players David Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria where unavailable due to injury. An out of form Gaudio was called up along with Agustín Calleri, Mariano Zabaleta and Lucas Arnold. Spain won 3–2, but Gaudio lost both of his matches easily to Juan Carlos Ferrero losing 14 games in a row in a 6–4 6–0 6–0 defeat and in the fifth match against Carlos Moyà 6–1 6–4 6–2 and was roundly criticised back in Argentina for these performances. "When I returned to Buenos Aires after playing Davis Cup in Moscow and Malaga, you had the impression it was my fault and that hurt me," he said.
2004 started slowly for Gaudio and after reaching the final in Barcelona
losing to Tommy Robredo
in 5 sets and on the back of two victories in the World Team Cup
over Martin Verkerk
and Lleyton Hewitt
. Gaudio came into the French Open
ranked 44th and was unseeded for the tournament after defeating compatriot Guillermo Cañas
over 2 days in 5 sets, then he won another 5 set match against Jiří Novák
, then Thomas Enqvist
, Igor Andreev
and Lleyton Hewitt
were dismissed on route to the semi finals, where three out of four semi finalists were Argentine
and then defeated Nalbandian in 3 sets.
In the all-Argentine final Gaudio defeated Guillermo Coria 0–6 3–6 6–4 6–1 8–6 Gaudio became the first Argentine to win a Grand Slam since Guillermo Vilas, in 1977, the first man to win a Grand Slam after losing the first 6–0. He became the fifth lowest ranked player to win a Grand Slam, the first man in 70 years to win a Grand Slam saving match points in the final. Gaudio reached the top 10 in the ATP Entry rankings for the first time. Gaudio had achieved his childhood dream by winning Roland Garros and likened the match to a movie and did not know what was going on . Gaudio did not play Wimbledon and returned to tour in Båstad losing in the final to friend Mariano Zabaleta. He also made finals in Stuttgart and Kitzbühel and made his first appearance at the Tennis Masters Cup where had 0–3 record.
Gaudio consolidated his top 10 ranking in 2005, by winning 5 tournaments and his 42-8 on clay only second to Nadal. Gaudio and Coria were at the centre of another dispute at the World Team Cup
where Gaudio said "Let's be truthful, this isn't a team, because there's someone who makes decisions choosing the best for himself. I can understand that a player gets tired and decides to rest before Paris. I also did so on Tuesday against the Czechs but not in the most important match of all. Coria and I were the best team and if we were a real team this wouldn't have happened."
He lost in fourth round of Roland Garros to David Ferrer after leading 4–0 in the 5th set and losing 6 consecutive games, when leading in the 5th set Gaudio said to Ferrer’s coach at one point."Don't worry; I'm not going to win today”. Gaudio also qualified again for the Tennis Masters Cup where he made the semi finals defeating Mariano Puerta and Fernando González and lost to Nikolay Davydenko in the round robin, before losing to Roger Federer 6–0 6–0 in the semi finals.
Gaudio was not been able to keep up his level of play to the standards he set from mid 2004 to 2005. His best performances for 2006 have included semi finals in Acapulco
and the Monte Carlo
Masters and he finished the year ranked at 34. Ranked in the top ten, Gaudio started 2006 off well at the French Open
, where he lost in the fourth round in four sets to Russia
's Nikolay Davydenko
. Gaudio lost at Wimbledon match to Irakli Labadze
(a qualifier), and lost his 2006 US Open
3rd round match to Marc Gicquel
Gaudio started 2007 poorly and lost 8 consecutive matches stretching back to 2006 before recording a victory over Luis Horna
who retired from the match with a strained hamstring
, but Gaudio followed up with a conventional win against Juan Pablo Guzman
before losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero
in the quarter finals of Acapulco
. At the French Open in 2007, he won his first round match against Marc Gicquel
(he lost to him last year) in five sets. He was to face Lleyton Hewitt
, seeded 14, and won the first two sets 6–4, 6–3. However, Hewitt won the next three sets and thus the match 4–6, 3–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–2. As a result, Gaudio's rank dropped to 99. As of September 17, 2007, Gaudio's ATP ranking has fallen to 180 in the world. During the second part of the year, he started to play clay court challenger events in Europe to attempt to rebuild his career, but he suffered an ankle injury while playing in the Napoli
Gaudio took the rest of the year off before coming back in January 2008 at a Challenger Series event in Miami, Florida. He lost in the opening round 6–0, 6–3 to Kei Nishikori of Japan. Later in the month Gaudio continued his comeback attempt at the Movistar Open in Vina del Mar, Chile. Granted a wild card into the main draw of the tournament, Gaudio lost to Santiago Ventura 6–0, 6–3 in the first round.
- Gaudio is a fan of Club Atlético Independiente football team.
- Gaudio learnt the game at the Temperley Lawn Tennis Club and his first coach was Roberto Carruthers.
- Gaudio played football and rugby as well as tennis as a child and chose tennis to help out his parents financially when their business ran into economic problems.
- “"I always think that I am my worst opponent. I always play against myself first and then against the other one. So I'm playing against two guys during the match...It's like mentally I don't know what is going to happen in the next ten minutes. Maybe I get depressed in ten minutes. I don't know myself too much...Yeah, I was working with a psychiatrist (sic), and I still do.”
- On his compatariots David Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria. "They are the 'galácticos,' the Real Madrid team and I am Valencia".
- Mariano Zabaleta said this about Gaudio winning Roland Garros. “I have known Gastón since I was 10 years old. He is a friend like the friends I have of all my life. With him or Juan Chela, friendship goes far away from tennis. The truth is that what happened to him is unbelievable because winning Roland Garros is everyone of us' dream. When I saw him crying on TV, I cried too. And my mother dropped a lot of tears; she was deeply touched because she loves him like a son.”
- After losing to Massú in the US Open 2003: “Today I’d have lost even against my mother.”
- After the Porsche Cup in Stuttgart: “I want to come next year and win. If I don't get the car I'm going to steal it!”
- At the Roland Garros press conference after he won in 2004 "It is 100-percent satisfaction. When I returned to Buenos Aires after playing Davis Cup in Moscow and Málaga, you had the impression it was my fault and that hurt me," he said. "That's why I have enjoyed this moment twice as much because there are many people who have helped me through my difficult moments. Now it's like a revenge."
- When asked how one could stop Federer winning his third straight Masters Cup title: "I think maybe you should ask someone else. Don't ask me."
- When asked on how frustrating was losing against Hewitt on Roland Garros 2007 after being up 2 sets to 0: "I'm used to it"
Grand Slam singles finals
Singles Titles (8)
|Legend (Singles) |
| Grand Slam (1) |
| Tennis Masters Cup (0) |
| ATP Masters Series (0) |
| ATP Tour (7) |
||Opponent in the final
||22 April 2002
|| Albert Costa
||6–4, 6–0, 6–2 |
||29 April 2002
|| Jarkko Nieminen
||6–2, 6–3 |
||24 May 2004
|| Guillermo Coria
||0–6, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1, 8–6
||31 January 2005
||Viña del Mar, Chile
|| Fernando González
||6–3, 6–4 |
||7 February 2005
||Buenos Aires, Argentina
|| Mariano Puerta
||6–4 6–4 |
||1 May 2005
|| Tommy Robredo
||6–1, 2–6, 6–1 |
||4 July 2005
|| Stanislas Wawrinka
||6–4, 6–4 |
||31 July 2005
|| Fernando Verdasco
||2–6, 6–2, 6–4, 6–4 |
Singles finalist (8)
||Opponent in the final
|| 24 July 2000
|| Stuttgart Outdoor, Germany
|| Franco Squillari
|| 6–3, 3–6, 4–6, 6–4, 6–2 |
|| 19 February 2001
|| Viña del Mar, Chile
|| Guillermo Coria
|| 4–6, 6–2, 7–5 |
|| 15 July 2002
|| Gstaad, Switzerland
|| Alex Corretja
|| 6–3, 7–6, 7–6 |
|| 3 May 2004
|| Barcelona, Spain
|| Tommy Robredo
|| 6–3, 4–6, 6–2, 3–6, 6–3 |
|| 12 July 2004
|| Båstad, Sweden
|| Mariano Zabaleta
|| 6–1, 4–6, 7–6 |
|| 19 July 2004
|| Stuttgart, Germany
|| Guillermo Cañas
|| 5–7, 6–2, 6–0, 1–6, 6–3 |
|| 26 July 2004
|| Kitzbühel, Austria
|| Nicolás Massú
|| 7–6, 6–4 |
|| 25 July 2005
|| Stuttgart, Germany
|| Rafael Nadal
|| 6–3, 6–3, 6–4 |
Doubles titles (3)
Singles performance timeline
To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the U.S. Open, which ended on September 10, 2007.
A = did not participate in the tournament.
1. The win total does not include walkovers.