With the close of the 2015 Association of Tennis Professionals season, Argentina is experiencing its first year without a title in 18 years.
Since 1997, there hasn’t been a season when an Argentine player hasn’t won at least one tournament title – the last being in mid-2014 by Leonardo Mayer (currently ranked 35) in Hamburg. Mayer lost to French player Richard Gasquet in the Masters 1000 Series in Paris, the final ATP tournament of the season, ending the hopes of Argentina claiming any title.
It’s not to say that Argentina hasn’t had some good seasons between 1997 and now. After all, 86 titles between those years is nothing to be ashamed of. In both the 2004 and 2005 seasons Argentines grabbed nine titles and in 2009 Juan Martín del Potro was named champion of the US Open.
Del Potro played just four matches this season after suffering an injury to his left wrist – putting the pressure on the next highest-ranking Argentine players like Mayer (35), Federico Delbonis (53) and Juan Mónaco (54). Sadly, the highest-ranking Argentine in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), María Irigoyen, is ranked at 195 – a troublesome position for a title-hungry player.
It didn’t help that the Argentine national team made it so close to the Davis Cup finals before losing to Belgium.
The good news is that there’s promise in the young up-and-coming players in the top 100, despite the bleak year. And with the start of the Buenos Aires Challenger yesterday, nobody knows what kind of fresh talent may emerge as a hope for the title-hungry nation.