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Five things to know about Mariano Navone

25 February 2024 By ATP Staff
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Learn more about the 22-year-old Argentine


Argentine Mariano Navone has taken the tennis world by storm this week at the Rio Open presented by Claro, where on Sunday he will face countryman Sebastian Baez for the title.

Navone is at a career-high No. 113 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and will surge to No. 40 if he wins the title. looks at five things you should know about the 22-year-old.

He did not own a tour-level win entering Rio de Janeiro
Before the Rio de Janeiro event, Navone had never won a tour-level match. He had been 0-2, with both those matches coming earlier this year.

Navone lost in the first round at Cordoba before qualifying in Buenos Aires and losing in the first round of the main draw there.

The Argentine became just the 11th qualifier to reach an ATP 500 final since the inception of the series in 2009 behind victories against Federico Coria, Yannick Hanfmann, Joao Fonseca and defending champion Cameron Norrie.

How the Argentine got started in tennis
Navone began playing at a local club in Argentine when he was three years old.

“I learned with a coach. My sister, mother, and father all play tennis. They love tennis,” Navone said.

“I played a lot of matches at the club with my uncle, family, friends. All the time, I went to the club. At seven or eight, I would spend five or six hours all the weekends. I was there all the time when I was kid!”

Mariano’s idols are Djokovic & Nalbandian
Navone’s two idols have been Novak Djokovic and David Nalbandian.

About Djokovic, he said: “I saw him at Roland Garros, because I played my first Grand Slam [last] year and I said, 'Wow!' I am a fan of Djokovic, I think he's the best player I've seen on the court. When I saw him win his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, I was like, 'Wow, this guy is very special!' and what a career, right?”

The Argentine added that his countryman Nalbandian’s backhand was “very special”. “[He] was a very good player, very good backhand, and a very good person,” he said.

History of his nickname
Navone’s nickname, La Navoneta, is a play off the nickname of Argentina’s national football team manager Lionel Scaloni, whose nickname is La Scaloneta.

“La Navoneta is like the same, but with less people because I'm not very famous!” Navone said. “The people represent me with that because I have charisma, so I think the people represent me with that name. The people don't say, 'Mariano', they say 'La Navoneta’!”

Credits ATP Challenger Tour
Although Navone entered Rio de Janeiro without a tour-level win, he has had plenty of ATP Challenger Tour success. The 22-year-old has won five titles at that level, all of which came last year.

“Challengers have changed my life,” he said. “I made my first final in 2022 in Corrientes. In that moment, I was around 520 in the rankings. The level of Challengers has given me everything. The matches have a lot of intensity. The competition, the players are so special. They've developed my game and mentality. It's a challenge all the time to win matches. It's very difficult to win.”

Grant Thompson contributed quotes to this story from a 2023 interview