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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Leonardo Mayer

Hamburg, Germany

Mayer© ATPLeonardo Mayer captured his maiden ATP World Tour title in Hamburg on Sunday.

Leonardo Mayer ended his week on a high by edging top seed David Ferrer 6-7(3), 6-1, 7-6(4) to claim his first ATP World Tour title at the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg. The Argentine, who moves from No. 46 to a career-high No. 27 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after the victory, is the fourth first-time champion of the season, joining Federico Delbonis (Sao Paulo), Roberto Bautista Agut ('s-Hertogenbosch) and Pablo Cuevas (Bastad).

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Mayer's triumph makes him the lowest-ranked winner of an ATP World Tour 500-level tournament since Radek Stepanek became the Citi Open champion in 2011 while ranked No. 54 in the world.

Mayer spoke with after his victory.

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How does it feel to win your first ATP World Tour title?
To win my first ATP World Tour title is incredible. I'm really happy and I still can't believe it. And by beating Ferrer, who is one of the best players on clay.

Did you think you'd win your first title at age 28?
I won at this age because I had many years of injuries and couldn't maintain regularity in training. That's why I'm so happy for [today].

This was your second singles final (Vina del Mar). Did you go into the match with a different approach?
Vina gave me some experience to be more calm to play today. It helps to have played a final before and today I was more relaxed.

Talk about your success this week, not dropping a set en route to the final and then beating three seeds (Garcia-Lopez in the second round, Kohlschreiber in the semi-finals, Ferrer in the final) to win the title.
Having beaten Garcia-Lopez and Kohlschreiber gave me extra motivation and today against Ferrer was special because I admire him a lot and it was a tough match. But I played relaxed and therefore won.

Not only was this your first ATP World Tour title but you also beat your first Top 10 opponent (Ferrer). That is quite an accomplishment, talk about that.
I told my coach that it was the first time I beat a Top 10 player. It's very difficult because they play at a very high standard and it's very difficult to beat them. Also I haven't played many 500's and it's nice to play well and win.

What did you do well during the week to win six matches?
It was a lot of matches, but I handled it very well. The matches were not so long so I could last the whole week and that gave me the energy to win the final today.

You are putting together the best season of your career and now you will be ranked in the Top 30 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and the No. 2 Argentine. What was your goal coming into this year?
It's the first time I'm in the Top 30; it's amazing. And being the No. 2 in Argentina after Juan Martin del Potro is something special. In Argentina, to have two players in the Top 30 is very positive and it will help to grow tennis in Argentina.

You reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, your best Grand Slam result. You have successful results on hard courts as well. Is clay your best surface and how do you like playing on the others?
To reach the Wimbledon fourth round was something strange for me - for any Argentine - but my game lets me play well on all surfaces. That also helped me this week and helped me to be confident.

Is there anyone you want to thank for your success?
It's all work over many years with my coaches, family and my girlfriend. Today and this year, it all came together. When I get back to Argentina I'll celebrate with all the people who deserve it.

Who were the players you looked up to and admired growing up?
My idol is Roger Federer. I've watched him for a long time. Hopefully before he retires he can give me a tennis lesson at a tournament (laughs). I hope to face him sometime and enjoy him on court.

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© Erika Tanaka


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