1999 IN REVIEW
The Frenchman improved his ATP Tour Ranking over 150 positions in second half of year...Ranked No. 303 on July 1, but made climb by reaching five Challenger finals…Began season with fifth place finish at French #1 Satellite (17 points)... In late June, made first Challenger appearance of season in Montauban where he reached QF…Made big run in August, reaching three consecutive finals in as many weeks -- Sopot (l. to Carretero), Bressanone (l. to Liuddi) and Manerbio (l. to Savolt)…That effort allowed him to climb from 297 to No. 165 on Aug. 30...In mid-September, reached another final in Brasov (l. to D. Sanchez)… Two weeks later, qualified and made his lone Tour appearance of season in Toulouse (l. to Henman)…In October, broke into Top 150 with final run at Sao Paulo Challenger (l. to Gumy) to reach season-high No. 134, his highest ranking since July 1995...Finished with 26-13 record in Challengers with all but four matches (2-2) on clay.
1989 -- Picked up 16 points at three Satellites...Lost in 1st RD at Hosseger Challenger…1990 -- Made Tour debut in Toulouse (l. to Arias) and went 3-5 in Challenger play…1991 -- Won Netherlands Satellite (46 points) and reached first Challenger final in Graz (l. to Buchmayer)...Also a SF at Segovia Challenger (d. Clavet) and QF at Sao Paulo-5, Brest and Helsinki Challengers…1992 -- Won first Tour-level match in Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros (d. de la Pena)…Reached SF at Yvetot, Halle and Pescara Challengers, along with QF at Rennes, Prague and Azores Challengers…Reached career-best No. 111 in June...Qualified for Prague and New Haven Tour stops, losing to John McEnroe 7-6 in third set in later...1993 -- Won first career Challenger title in Rome (d. Fleurian)…1994 -- Won Cherbourg Challenger title (d. Roux)…Reached first Tour QF in Nice, beating No. 11 Gustafsson en route…1995 -- Beat two-time champ Courier in 1st RD of Rome and No. 20 Stoltenberg in 1st RD of Australian Open ...Reached SF at Kosice Challenger…1996 -- Recorded Tour win in 1st RD of Toulouse (d. Mutis) and reached SF at Bromma Challenger...1997 -- Reached QF at Ljubljana and Pilzen Challengers and finished fourth at France #2 Satellite (17 points)...1998 -- Slowly made comeback by winning France #5 Futures title and reaching finals at Germany #5, France #6 and U.S. #12 Futures events... Played in two Challengers and lone Tour event was in Gstaad.
Began playing tennis at age 10 with his father, Jacques, who was a tennis instructor and soccer player who now owns a sporting goods shop in Antibes, near Cannes...Mother, Vivianne, helps manage the shop...Younger brother, Fabien, attends Delta State University in Memphis...At age 15, Thierry grew four inches (10 cm) in one year and during a match, he broke a bone in his thigh and was told he could not play again...But after months of rehab, he made his comeback...Won 18-under French national championships in 1989 and runner-up in previous year...Favorite surface is clay and says "getting better on hard"...Took time off in 1996 season to see if he wanted to play again...Gives credit to Jean-Marc Surdeau, a psychologist, in helping him return...Coached by former Tour player Jerome Potier.