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First Time Winner Spotlight: Federico Delbonis

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Delbonis© Inovafoto/Brasil Open 2014Federico Delbonis celebrates winning his first ATP World Tour title in Sao Paulo.

Federico Delbonis captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday, after he defeated Paolo Lorenzi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, at the Brasil Open 2014 in Sao Paulo. The Argentinean was the first unseeded Brasil Open champion since 2007 (Canas) and the first non-Spanish champion at Sao Paulo in six years.

Delbonis spoke to after his victory.

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How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour singles trophy?
It’s the best thing that’s happened in my life. It feels incredible to lift up the trophy. It’s a unique feeling. I hope that it happens again.

Last year you came close to winning your first ATP World Tour title in Hamburg, where you qualified and lost in the final to Fognini. Did that final help you coming into today?
Yes, maybe a little. It could be that it gives you a little bit more of experience on these kind of circumstances. Last year I almost had the final, but anyway, today I was a little more successful on those moments and this was a little bit of the key to win today’s final.  

During your run to the title, you beat the No. 2 seed Almagro and crowd favourite Bellucci, both in three sets. Did you have extra confidence going into the final to win the title?
Yes, without a doubt. To beat Nicolas [Almagro] has had some great runs at this tournament, always gives you confidence. Also beating Thomaz [Bellucci] in the semi-finals, with all the public against me, gave me extra confidence, even if the match was long. It gave me confidence in the next match.  

Last year you finished in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 55 and with the title you will break the Top 50 for the first time. How does that feel?
The truth is that the first time you break the Top 100 barrier it is like a myth among the players that we talk about it. I first broke it last year [15 April 2013] and I was then able to enter Roland Garros. Later, I fell a little, but with the final in Hamburg I was able to reach that ranking again. Maybe, it also helped me to have broken the barrier earlier. 

You are now the No. 3 Argentine player in the Emirates ATP Rankings, what does that mean to you?
Nothing. It means that I have to keep working, keep giving my all in each match and in each training session, so that if one day I have to play a Davis Cup match I can do my best. 

Did you have a ranking goal you set for yourself coming into the season?
No. What I had as a goal was to do the same as I did last year, but on the ATP World Tour. Last year I had very good Challenger tournament results and later I did well at one ATP. Today, the goal is the same but I want to try to do it on as many ATP tournaments as possible. That is going to give me a consistent and a stable ranking. 

You are the fourth player born in the 1990s (Raonic, Dimitrov, Tomic) to win an ATP World Tour title. What do you think about the young players coming up on the ATP World Tour?
Truly, it is a really good generation with Raonic leading the way. Now [Grigor] Dimitrov also won a title and [Bernard] Tomic also has great runs. It makes me happy to be able to be part of this generation but, like I mentioned, this is not going to stop me from working hard. I’m going to continue doing the same things to be able to give my best in each match. 

Your best results have come on clay and is that your best surface? What do you feel are the strengths of your game?
Yes, to tell you the truth I feel it’s my favourite surface, because it is the one that I was brought up on. I always played on clay, but I hope that in the future I can play well on hard courts as well, as it is makes up almost 70 per cent of the tour. I feel good on this kind of surface, because my heavy forehand hurts a lot when it bounces. And that is very good. 

You’re had a lot of different people help you during your career. Is there anyone who you would like to thank for their support?
I would like to thank the people with whom I’m working today. Gustavo, who is my coach, Facundo and Horacio, who are my fitness trainers, they are the ones that have given me the most stability. You always have stages, obviously those stages at the beginning when you don’t do well and are not good enough. But at the end you see it. All the people that have been with me in the past are also part of this, because they were always with me and they always supported me. 

When you were younger growing up, did you have any one as a role model?
Yes, in tennis it was always Guillermo Vilas because he was the propeller of tennis in Argentina. I’ve always said it because he was the one that made tennis popular in Argentina. Tennis in Argentina was not well known and thanks to him and to his great career, he was able to gradually introduce it into the civilisation.

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