Burruchaga brimming with pride after major breakthrough

The Argentine completed qualifying on Friday to enter the 128 player main draw.

Roman Andres Burruchaga, 3e tour, qualifications, Roland-Garros 2024 ©Philippe Montigny / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Burruchaga is a household name in South America, particularly in Argentina.

More specifically, Jorge Burruchaga is a national hero, having scored the winning goal in the 1986 football World Cup final.

Now, his son Roman Burruchaga is carving out his own sporting career on the Grand Slam stage. The 22-year-old posted his milestone moment with a gutsy 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 triumph over Jozef Kovalik.

"I'm extremely happy to get this victory to earn my first main draw of a Grand Slam. I'm going to enjoy it!" Burruchaga said.

The world No.145 was down a break in all three sets, but demonstrated the grit and perseverance required to belong at the major level.

"I had to show my heart," he said. "It was an incredible battle, I had to fight the whole way through the match.

"If I want to win in the main draw, I always have to fight like this, because the level is so high. You have to be focused the whole time."

Back in February, Burruchaga made his ATP debut on home clay in Cordoba. He qualified and then notched up a standout 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over compatriot Diego Schwartzman for his first ATP main draw victory.

Since then he has chalked up semi-finals on clay on the Challenger Tour in Asuncion, Paraguay and Oeiras, Portugal.

"I'm playing another level this year, I started so good," he said. "That victory over Diego was super emotional. That gave me a lot of confidence and made me believe I can keep going that way. Hopefully they'll be many more at this level."

For over a year, former world No.21 Leonardo Mayer has been guiding his countryman in a coaching capacity.

"I'm learning a lot from him," Burruchaga said. "He has a lot of experience to tell me. He's a great coach and a really good person.

"We're working really well with my team. I'm really happy with him here and to keep working with him."

Roman Andres Burruchaga, 2e tour, qualifications, Roland-Garros 2024©Rémy Chautard / FFT

Burruchaga grew up in the junior ranks with the likes of Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune and Lorenzo Musetti, who have all hit the upper echelons of the sport. The world No.145 might be impressed by their progress, but is happy to follow his own trajectory.

"There are so many players like them, who have made an impact so quickly, but tennis is like this," he said. "You have to make your own way, your own path. Don't look at others, just focus on yourself, your game and try and win as many matches as you can."

Burruchaga seemed destined to follow in his father's footsteps as a promising junior, playing football at River Plate Club in Buenos Aires, but shifted to his main "passion" tennis at around eight years old. Now a major is locked in, Roman knows it was the right call and one his father appreciates.

"Of course, I've already spoken with him, he congratulated me. It's a big moment for me, my family, my mother , my brothers too. It's important to enjoy the moment."

"I just have to give everything on court, and hopefully I can produce my best tennis. When I was younger I was watching every Grand Slam, every Roland-Garros on TV. Playing a main draw at Roland-Garros is a dream come true."

Roman Andres Burruchaga / 1er tour qualifications Roland-Garros 2024©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Elsewhere at Roland-Garros on Friday, Austria's Filip Misolic overhauled Quentin Halys from a set down to secure his main draw ticket. 

No.23 seed Felipe Meligeni Alves found the answers to edge promising Portuguese talent Jaime Faria, however, No.2 seed JJ. Wolf fell at the final hurdle 6-1, 6-2 to Dutchman Jesper De Jong.

No.6 seed Thiago Monteiro reached the main draw with a win over Daniel Rincon, and Mikhail Kukushkin earned his 11th campaign in Paris courtesy of a 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3 passage past Italy's Francesco Maestrelli.

World No.211 Henri Squire also entered the elite 128, beating Andrea Vavassori in three sets and Belgium's Zizou Bergs clinched the last main draw spot with victory over Mathias Bourgue.

Zizou Bergs, qualifying, Roland-Garros 2024©️Cèdric Lecocq / FFT