Mager Masters Munar At Marbella Challenger

Gianluca Mager (photo: Alvaro Diaz)

MARBELLA, April 4, 2021

World No. 102 Gianluca Mager is the champion of the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open ATP Challenger 80 tournament held at the Club de Tenis Puente Romano in Marbella, Spain. The No. 4 seed from Italy rallied from a set down to overcome local favourite and third seed Jaume Munar, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final.

On a sunny afternoon at the Costa del Sol and in front of about 400 spectators on Estadio Manolo Santana, Mager won 69 per cent of his first-service points and converted three of his five break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 46 minutes.

“It was a very tough match,” Mager told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “He played unbelievable in the first set. I think he only did two mistakes in the whole set. I tried to push but it was very difficult. However, I knew that I had to continue like this. I tried to play my game, moving the ball with my forehand and Jaume started to make some errors.

“It felt unbelievable playing in front of a crowd. It has been a long time competing without spectators, which is not easy. It is a totally different feeling and it was a great experience. I hope that the whole situation will improve in the near future. The tournament here is great. It is one of the best Challengers I have ever played. The organization is fantastic. The food is free and the room is only 20 metres away from the courts. The venue is beautiful and conditions are perfect.”

Starting the season in the United States with the Delray Beach Open on hard court, Mager has been switched to clay and remained on his favourite surface since then. Last week, he advanced to the quarterfinals of the inaugural Zadar Open in Croatia.

“After the South American swing I was able to enter the Miami Open but my coach and I made the decision to remain on clay. I preferred competing in two Challengers on clay and it seemed to be the right way,” he explained and pocketed €6,190 in prize money as well as 80 ATP Ranking points in southern Spain. Mager is projected to crack the Top 100 again.

Asked about his goals for the rest of the season, the former World No. 77 responded: “I don’t know. One year ago, I made the final at the ATP 500 in Rio. Then the Tour was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. After the break I didn’t won many matches but I began to practice more focused again. Now we don’t speak about goals in terms of ranking positions. We try to do our best.”

Mager, who mentioned that he is working on his English skills with Netflix and using subtitles, will stay in Marbella for another week competing in the ATP 250 tournament next week. He will open his second campaign in Andalusia against Mikhail Kukushkin from Kazakhstan.

What can we still expect from him? “I don’t know. I will next enjoy a bit of a rest today and tomorrow. I played five matches, three of them were very tough. I will try to recover as quickly as possible and then we will see.”

Mager has clinched his fourth ATP Challenger career title, his first since his triumph on home soil in Biella two years ago.