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Sao Paulo Preview: Victor Hanescu

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hanescu© AFP/Getty ImagesVictor Hanescu won three ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2012.

Victor Hanescu is the most experienced player competing in the eight-man field at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals. As he looks to wrap up his 2012 season with the title in Sao Paulo, the 31 year old heads into the event knowing he will finish inside the Top 100 of the year-end South African Airways ATP Rankings for the ninth time in 10 years.

“It means that I've worked hard all these years, and I did it with passion and trust,” Hanescu tells “I am really thankful for what I have achieved in my career so far. I am very excited to be in the elite group of the Challenger players and be able to play this tournament. I think it is a very special and unique event.”

The Romanian had dropped as low as World No. 153 in June, but rebounded to reach six finals on the ATP Challenger Tour, taking home three trophies. Hanescu's consistency enabled him to finish first in the 2012 ATP Year-To-Date Challenger Rankings and in turn, he climbed 89 spots to No. 64; he was as high as No. 58 on 24 September.

“I really wanted to go back to Top 100 again,” says Hanescu. “For the first time in my career, I’ve started to work more on the mental part of the game, which brought me a lot of confidence and success.”

Hanescu is known for his results on clay, advancing to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2005 and contesting five ATP World Tour finals on the surface, highlighted by capturing the title in Gstaad four years ago. If he wants to be the last man standing in Sao Paulo, Hanescu will need to find a way to translate his dexterity on the dirt to the indoor hard court of the Ibirapuera Gymnasium.

“I started to play tennis on clay and for many years, we had only clay courts in Romania, so I think I developed very strong clay court skills. But also I enjoy playing on grass and slow hard courts,” Hanescu says. “At this level, in these times, every match and every player is a big challenge. I think all the players taking part at this event will perform at their maximum capacity. But I am going to enjoy my tennis and do my best!”

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