1999 IN REVIEW
The Spaniard played best tennis on clay…Began year on hardcourts, posting a 1-2 record before moving to clay in late March for remainder of year…In April, reached QF at Napoli and Espinho Challengers…Failed to win consecutive matches again until July, when he reached QF at Newcastle Challenger…Reached 3rd RD at Kitzbuhel one week later…Played well in August, advancing to first Tour QF of year in San Marino (l. to Gaudenzi) and reaching back-to-back Challenger SF in Geneva and Freudenstadt…Had best Tour results in Mallorca in September, reaching SF, losing to eventual winner Ferrero…In doubles, reached SF in Mallorca (w/Balcells) and at Graz (w/Hipfl), Segovia (w/J. Sanchez) and Prague (w/Armando) Challengers…Eight of 10 Tour wins and all 18 Challenger victories came on clay.
1995-Received first ATP Tour Ranking by playing four Satellites...1996-Finished year by winning Spain #9 Satellite (49 points)...Also doubles winner at Spain #2 circuit (w/G. Lopez, 48 points)...1997-Captured his first ATP Tour title in Santiago (d. Rios) and prevented Chilean from qualifying for ATP Tour World Championship...Compiled personal-best 21-11 record on Tour and went 22-7 in Challengers, winning titles in Venice (d. Craca) and Contrexeville (d. Gaudenzi)...Broke into Top 100 for first time on July 21 at No. 92...In August in Long Island, beat No. 4 Ivanisevic for first Top 10 victory en route to SF and in that match fired a 140 mph serve to become just third player (Philippoussis, Rusedski) to register a serve of at least 140 mph...Compiled record of 15-7 on clay and 5-3 on hard...In doubles, won first Tour title in Marbella (w/Alami)… 1998-Won Tour title in Bologna (d. Alami) without dropping a set…Also reached QF in Bucharest…In doubles, won Long Island (w/J. Sanchez) and Challenger title in Zagreb (w/Puerta).
CAREER TITLES (2): 1997-Santiago; 1998-Bologna. FINALIST: 1997-Kitzbnhel.
CAREER DOUBLES TITLES (2). FINALIST (1).
GRAND SLAM RECORD
Began playing tennis at age nine...Captured Spanish 18s title in 1994...Has one younger sister, Elena, and one older sister, Sonia...Admired countryman Emilio Sanchez while growing up and credits the former Spanish No. 1 for his development...Enjoys music of Cranberries, Metallica and Luis Miguel...Fan of Barcelona soccer team and enjoys driving fast cars...Considers his serve as his best shot and likes to play on all surfaces...Named 1997 Rado Player to Watch for top newcomer on ATP Tour...Has 3-2 career Davis Cup record (2-0 in singles) in three ties…Coached by Ronnie Leitgeb, former mentor of Austrian star Thomas Muster.