Meligeni recounts how an encouraging conversation with the father inspired an unforgettable heroic campaign

The Brazilian reached the semi-finals of the Grand Slam the year he had the best rating of his career


In the memory of most Brazilians, it is perhaps the greatest memory of national tennis in Roland GarrosGrand Slam from Sunday with coverage of all matches By ESPN on Star +It is one of Gustavo Kuerten’s three titles on French clay. However, among the Guga Cups, the campaign has been a symbol of our sport. She has shined before Fernando Meligini.


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today Commentator on the Disney set “Fininho” He recalled his campaign at Roland Garros in 1999, reaching the semi-finals of the tournament, his best result in the tournament and in any other tournaments.

Season 99 was magical for Meligni, who on October 11 of that year reached the highest rating of his career, even appearing in 25th place on the ATP list. The mark has leapt through the campaign at Roland Garros, where he finished to compete in 54th place in the world.

Also in ’99, Melegini won only Pete Sampras, MA in Rome. The American was the great tennis icon of the ’90s and was considered the greatest of all time until the rise of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the last decade.

Magical Year 99 is inspired by a conversation between Meligini and his father, Osvaldo, about a month before the tournament begins.

“In that 99 a lot happened and he (father) is responsible for my courage to reach the semi-finals of Roland Garros. I travel to Casablanca, then I go to Estoril and Barcelona. I bought a plot of land in Angra dos Reis and my dad said: ‘You have to buy, build a house because this The money is worth it tomorrow.” Halfway through, I wanted to build and the neighbor wanted to sell. And I had a job, I had no sponsorship, I didn’t have a cover that would give me R$20,000 a month”said Meligny, to ESPN.

“And “I think you should buy this house,” my dad tells me. But I say: Dad, I don’t have that money. He said, ‘Gee, you’re 80 in the world and every week you make $5,000, $4,000. We ask the guy 10 times…’. And it cost, I don’t know, $400,000 and I didn’t have it. The dollar is at 1 to 1. And I said, “You crazy dad, too much pressure.” He said: No, Vida, the chief. You go to Roland Garros, just play well. I don’t know why I accepted the challenge. And indeed … She played the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo, which she lost to Goga, beat Piolin and Sampras in Rome. That was $10,000, $15,000. I even made it to the semi-finals at Roland Garros. I was paying for it, until Roland Garros arrived and I was able to pay for the house, in quotesFino added.

in certificate ESPNMelegini recalled his campaign in the tournament step by step.

Round 1 – Justin Gimmelstop, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3

At that time an American on the mud you couldn’t miss. He was a great player, but on clay he didn’t know how to slip. I came from beating Sampras, it was a very smooth match. In a jiffy, he didn’t have a weapon to hurt me. The best debut is impossible.

Round Two – Younes El Aynaoui 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

We are stuck in Barcelona. live with us. Only Yunus looks a lot like me, we’re friends, but don’t push me, I’ll kill you. In Barcelona, ​​I came from my disqualification in Estoril, won the first set, broke serve in the second. I called a physio, and the game started to get rough, yelling at him and saying, “I didn’t know you were so dirty on the field.” And I say: What is this shit, man? I came here to eat your liver. “I thought we were friends,” he told me. He loses the second set. And at the beginning of the third he served 8 in my head, right in my head. He cursed me: “Hijo de p***”. Take a warning, point is lost. When the game is over, I stick his finger in my face and our relationship disappears.

At Roland Garros, we warmed up on the same ballpark. Incredibly, when the warm-up period is over, he gives me his hand and says, “Good match.” And the game was a war, 5 sets without a comma, his wife, Bardal (Ricardo Accioli, coach) and my gang screamed. Game over, he gives me his hand, then hugs me and says: “Let’s stop, it’s not worth it”. And when I leave the game we talk. Sorry we laughed. It was a very tense game. We left and it was two sets versus one for him because the natural light was gone, then it rained and the next day I won both sets. Then a door opens saying “Oops!”.

Round Three – Patrick Rafter, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

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The former tennis player and current ESPN commentator achieved the best participation in the 1999 French Grand Slam, when he reached the semi-finals

“When I saw that I was playing with Rafter, I knew I had a chance to play on a good court and that the only player I didn’t want to play was Susan Lenglin, because she was faster. But I didn’t like it, he served and shot the ball. I go here guided and here comes an advantage. The Great Pardal.He is a key character in this campaign because he was a very strategic man. I criticize “Tsitsipai” all the time on TV, but at the time I could (laughs)).

I won the first two sets and lost the comeback and I go one game at a time, it was 4-3 in the fourth set and I don’t get the payoff anymore. As I go to the back of the field in desperation, Bardal looks at me and says, “All the bounces crossed and the second one in parallel.” I come back to the left and give a cross which kind of slips, misses the point. I look at Pardal and say, “Son of a bitch,” right? “. The whole game is played back cross and break. When the game was over, he said, ‘Venu, I spent a bunch and a half trying to pass him parallel to come back. He’s flying in the crusade’. So you see how important a man like that is. Tsitsipai can’t speak today, but Pardal could have spoken in the past (laughs). ).

Round of 16 – Felix Mantella, 6-1, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6

I’ve already lost to Mantella five times. I’ve had a mohsen. We were very friendly. People joked that if you put Meligini x Mantella, you put the first match on the field and no one else after that. There were two men who destroyed me mentally and physically: Mantilla and Muster. Between us, for me, the championship ended there.

I tell the story that we go to sleep, and when the light goes out I say: “Sparrow, I will lose tomorrow.” And turns on the light. I said: If I keep playing like the other times, I’ll lose. I rely on him to play poorly. And he never plays badly. He said, “Put some clothes on and let’s go.” I thought he’d take me for coffee, and we left the room and sat in the hallway. He said, “Okay, that’s cool. I was trying to get you to play differently. I just want hell to be a liability. I’m asking you to 80’s Roland Garros and bring him back to the court, more on what you play. What if something goes wrong? Just get out of me. I should have. He comes from you too. Then he sets up the game. You will smother him in the first set. He will adapt, he will become a lunge, but you will have an advantage. When I shook hands with Felix at the end of the match, he said: ‘Hijo de puta, where did you get that tactic from? You won me in The first group.

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The former tennis player and current ESPN commentator recalled beating Spain’s Mantilla in the last 16 in 1999.

Wednesdays – Alex Corretga 6-2, 6-2, 6-0

He claims he wasn’t feeling well and I think he might have been. Because these guys hit 6-2, 6-2, 6-0… We had dinner at the same restaurant at the next table. The next day, he kind of came… Except that Alex is my brother, I love him, he was a typical Spaniard (laughs), with all due respect, who always cries and always wins you over. Alex was like this, Gallo Blanco was like this, and Proguera, Berasategui, and Moya were not. He never died, but it felt like he was always dying. So I kept looking: “That bastard wouldn’t do that to me on Wednesday, right?” You played really well. And there was a factor that came after Wednesday, and that was the wind. I loved playing it, Alex hated it, he lost his right. We commented before the match. “You get in the way, play on the right.” He missed about 25 right balls.

Simes – Andrei Medvedev, 5-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7

I imagined that I could defeat Medvedev. I don’t know if this is a strength or a flaw. I never saw myself raising the cup. I saw myself game after game. I watched Medvedev’s match with my kids a few days ago, I was so angry because I always understood the game well and with Medvedev I didn’t understand something fundamental, I lost my arrogance. I was playing very well and when he changes the game I don’t even notice. I had this big obsession, which I believe in so much in my game that I win the way I play and I don’t adapt tactically to what’s going on on the field. I just didn’t have those shoes. And there I paid the price. Because when it changes, I keep kicking. More often than not you have to have more ball. I played well, but lost well.

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