Patience pays off for Tirante

With Juan Martin del Potro as his inspiration, former junior No.1 is enjoying a breakout main draw run

Thiago Agustin Tirante, 3e tour, qualifications, Roland-Garros 2023©Rémy Chautard / FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

A Grand Slam main draw debut and first top-25 victory in one fell swoop, this is the moment Thiago Agustin Tirante has waited for so patiently.

Four years since he was the junior No.1 and Roland-Garros boys’ doubles champion, the Argentine’s perseverance has finally paid off.

His 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp capped a remarkable shift in fortunes, his fourth straight win in Paris, having won through qualifying for the first time. He now faces Chinese world No.71 Zhang Zhizhen in the second round.

“Amazing day, amazing week. I'm playing so good, I'm playing unbelievable,” Tirante beamed following his first-round win in Paris.

“I can't believe that now. I know that I'm playing such a good level and it means so much.”

In 2018, the then-promising teenager had the privilege of practising with his hero, “Juan Martin [del Potro], of course”.

Thiago Agustin Tirante, 1er tour, qualifications, Roland-Garros 2022©Julien Crosnier / FFT

A long road

A breakout year of junior success followed and he was called up as a hitting partner for Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals.

While his peers and compatriots Sebastian Baez and Juan Manuel Cerundolo went on to crack the top 100 in the years that followed, Tirante’s progress was more gradual.


Less than two weeks ago, the 22-year-old was at a Challenger event in Tunisia, desperate to rediscover the form that carried him to a Challenger level title on hard courts in Mexico last month.

It was a short trip to Tunis; he was humbled in the second round by Aziz Dougaz, a 26-year-old local wildcard ranked No.220 in the world.

“I played with tough conditions with wind in Tunisia and the people supporting the other side because I lost against a local guy,” Tirante said.

“I mean this was just one match but I knew that I'm playing good and I came here with another mentality.”

Thiago Agustin Tirante (ARG) Roland-Garros 2019
vainqueur double garçons ©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Support and encouragement

A touch below his highest ranking of world No.150, Tirante’s coach Javier Nalbandian – former world No.3 David Nalbandian’s brother – has been instrumental in reminding his young charge that his hard work would eventually pay off.

“He has a lot of experience with a lot of guys and he trusts in me so I trust a lot of him,” Tirante said. “We are a good team with all of my team, and the most important thing he says to me is play like I like to play – aggressive.

“He doesn't change anything about me so that is good. It's unbelievable to share the court with him right now. I am living a dream right now. I’ll hopefully keep going like this.”