2001 IN REVIEW
The Australian showman finished in Top 100 for fourth consecutive year at No. 62 in ATP Champions Race...Began season in native Australia, reaching 2nd RD in Sydney and 4th RD at Australian Open for second time in three years...Defeated Wessels, Ferrero and Youzhny before losing to eventual champion Agassi in four sets...Did not win consecutive matches again in seven events...In April, advanced to back-to back clay QF in Atlanta and Houston, losing to eventual finalists Malisse and H.T. Lee, respectively...Reached TMS career-best 3rd RD in Hamburg (l. to Hewitt)...Following week in St. Poelten, lost to Alami in three tie-break sets in 1st RD...Suffered opening round losses at Roland Garros (l. to Enqvist) and Wimbledon (l. to Johansson in five sets) and reached 2nd RD in Bastad and Stuttgart...Won first ever match at US Open with five-set win over Koubek before losing to Schalken in 2nd RD...Finished season in Asia with year-best SF in Hong Kong, defeating Motomura, Chang and Larsson before losing to eventual champion Rios and 1st RD in Tokyo (l. to Suzuki)...Compiled 11-15 record on hard courts, 9-11 on clay and 0-2 on grass.
1994-Winner at Australia #3 Satellite (61 points)...1995-In first claycourt event, qualified at French Open and posted back-to-back five-set victories over Caratti and No. 15 Krajicek before losing to El Aynaoui...Won his first Challenger title in Lillehammer (d. Ruud) and added another in Perth (d Geserer)...In doubles, reached final in Lillehammer (w/B. Larkham)...1996-QF at Lubeck Challenger...1997-Played in only three events due to muscular imbalance in his back...Winner at Israel #1 Satellite (53 points) and runner-up at Australia #4 Satellite (50 points)...Also advanced to SF at Perth Challenger...1998-Captured first ATP Tour title in Coral Springs (d. Sanguinetti) as a qualifier and finished in Top 100 for first time, jumping 414 positions from previous season...Also won Challenger title in Biella (d. Perlant) and reached final in Prostejov (l. to Fromberg)... 1999-Finished a year-end best No. 54 with best ever Grand Slam showing at Australian Open, reaching 4th RD...Reached SF in Dubai and Los Angeles...Earned a career-high $340,824...2000-Captured second career ATP title in Atlanta, his first clay court tournament of season, defeating Koubek in QF, Chang in SF and Stoltenberg in F, ripping his shirt off in celebration...Following week, continued his winning streak at Bermuda Challenger (d. Tabara)...Reached final at St. Poelten (l. to Pavel).
Began playing tennis at age seven and family moved to Australia from Romania when he was playing junior events (at 13)...Reached Australian Open Juniors singles final in 1994, losing to countryman Ben Ellwood...Captured Canadian Open juniors title and reached QF at US Open juniors in '94...Finished No. 8 in '94 world junior rankings...Enjoys playing golf, basketball, reading and listening to classical and rock n' roll (favorites include Matchbox 20, Smashing Pumpkins and Led Zeppelin)...A fan favorite and has tradition of ripping off his shirt after big wins (began at 1999 Roland Garros)... Favorite athlete is Michael Jordan and idols growing up were Becker, Edberg, Cash and Wilander...Can speak Romanian, English, German, French, and Italian...Coached by Craig Tyzzer (since 2001).