2003 IN REVIEW
The Romanian finished 107th in ATP Champions Race…Had an 8-20 match record…Reached SF in Adelaide first week of year, defeating O. Rochus, Kim, Dupuis before falling to Davydenko in straight sets…Advanced to 2nd RD of Australian Open for second consecutive year with three set victory against Sa but lost to Roddick in next round…Fell to Grosjean in Romania's 1st RD Davis Cup tie against France…Defeated Arthurs in 1st RD match at Marseille before dropping three-set match to Bjorkman in 2nd RD…Again came out victorious against Arthurs in Estoril, this time rallying from a set down to win match…Lost to Kafelnikov in next match…Moved into 2nd RD at Barcelona with straight sets win against Verkerk but lost to Moya in next round…Only qualifier appearance came at Hamburg TMS but lost to Davydenko in 1st RD…Snapped six match losing streak in Bastad with 1st RD win against Prpic (l. to Lapentti in 2nd RD)…Did not play remainder of year after 1st RD loss at Sopot in July after sustaining lower back injury.
1992-Winner at Portugal #2 Satellite (26 points)...1993-Runner-up in singles at Romania Satellite (30 points)...1994-Reached QF at ATP Tour stop in Montevideo...1995-Qualified in Doha and the Australian Open, winning a round at both...In Challengers, won Malta (d. Kroslak) and Kosice (d. Carretero)...Qualified at French Open and posted his first career Top 10 win over Becker in 3rd RD...Also beat Chesnokov in 4th RD before falling to Chang in QF...Became the first Romanian to reach the QF at Roland Garros since Ilie Nastase in 1977...Made Davis Cup debut for Romania against Morocco and later vs. Portugal (going 3-1 in singles)...Had an 18-5 Challenger record...1996-Improved his year-end ATP Tour Ranking for third consecutive year...Consistent on multiple surfaces: 14-11 on clay, 10-7 on hard, 6-5 on carpet...Reached his first career ATP Tour final in Palermo (retired w/ankle injury to Alami)...First Romanian to reach a Tour final since Nastase reached Bologna final in 1981...Helped lead Romania into Davis Cup World Group in 1997 for first time since 1984 by defeating Belgium in a playoff tie...In August, reached SF in Amsterdam and advanced to first career hardcourt SF in Long Island (l. to Damm)...1997-Reached lone Tour QF in San Marino...Biggest win of year came over No. 11 Carlos Moya in Nottingham (on grass)... 1998-Won Venice Challenger (d. Squillari) and reached finals at Ljubljana Challenger (l. to Pescariu)...In Tour play, reached SF in Bucharest, QF at Amsterdam and Grand Slam-best 3rd RD at the U.S. Open...1999-Won first career title at Bournemouth defeating Koubek in third-set tiebreak...Also reached 3rd RD at TMS Hamburg (d. Safin)...2000-Started year with QF at Sydney and then enjoyed best Australian Open, reaching 3rd RD (d. Spadea in five sets) falling to Hewitt in both events...Defeated Moya en route to 3rd RD in Kitzbuehel followed by finalist run at Poznan Challenger...2001 - Reached semifinal at ATP event in Umag, defeating Portas in 2nd RD and Ljubicic in QF before falling to Golmard...Advanced to QF in native Bucharest (l. to Vicente)...Won fourth career Challenger title in Biella (d. C. Rochus). 2002 - Finished in Top 100 in ATP Entry Rankings for sixth time in eight years, winning most matches (19) on ATP circuit since 1996...Reached 4th RD at Australian Open for first time in seven attempts...Also advanced to 3rd RD at Wimbledon for first time after four previous 1st RD losses...Played only two Tennis Masters Series events, with best ever showing at that level with 4th RD run in Miami (d. Ancic, d. Ljubicic, d. No. 2 seed Ferrero, l. to Lapentti)...Also qualified for TMS Hamburg, reaching 3rd RD with wins over Savolt and Henman before losing to eventual champion Federer.
Born in Romania but moved to Italy at age 15 because his older brother, Marian, was coaching there...Has a 9-6 career Davis Cup singles record in nine ties...Considers forehand as best shot...Enjoys painting, classical music and reading philosophical literature...Coached by Julian Vespan.