Victorious Santoro: 'My Career Is Just Beginning'
Sao Paulo, Brazil
by David Law|
Fabrice Santoro, the man known as ‘The Little Magician’ during his time on the ATP World Tour, has spoken of his delight at joining the ATP Champions Tour and having the opportunity to begin his ‘second career.’
Speaking following his 6-2, 6-2 victory over Brazilian Flavio Saretta in his first match of the Grand Champions Brazil in Sao Paulo on Thursday, Santoro told the ATP Champions Tour website that he believes his unorthodox playing style and crowd-pleasing trickery is perfectly suited to the demands of post-retirement tennis.
“My game is made for the Champions Tour, not the pro Tour,” said Santoro. “My career is only just beginning - I might not even have peaked yet!”
“I am always asked about my style of play,” he added. “I play that way because I have to. If I could hit the ball as hard as Mark (Philippoussis) then I would! I just love to play tennis, I enjoy so much being on the court. Since a very young age when I started playing tennis I had a smile on my face on the court and now is still the same. I love the sport.”
Tahiti-born Santoro secured many significant records during his ATP World Tour career. He holds the record for the most appearances in singles competition at Grand Slam events (70), and is the only male player to have competed in Grand Slams events in four different decades, from the 1989 French Open to the 2010 Australian Open.
After beating Mark Philippoussis to clinch third place at the Seguros Bolivar Tennis Champions in Medellin last week, Santoro has a taste for more success, this time on the ATP Champions Tour.
“Actually it would be a great gift for me to win one of these events,” he said. “This is my second career just starting now and I have so much fun on the court at these events so it would be perfect to win the title as well.”
In the opening match of the 2012 Grand Champions Brazil, Mark Philippoussis got his campaign off to a winning start with a 6-2, 7-5 defeat of 2005 French Open finalist Mariano Puerta.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner. After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday's final.
To view the round-robin groups and the order of play for the week in Sao Paulo, go to results.