Félix Mantilla Botella

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Félix Mantilla
FelixMantilla.jpg
Country  Spain
Residence Monte Carlo, Monaco
Born (1974-09-23) 23 September 1974 (age 39)
Barcelona, Spain
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Turned pro 1993
Retired 7 April 2008
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money $5,311,964
Singles
Career record 312–215
Career titles 10
Highest ranking No. 10 (8 June 1998)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (1997)
French Open SF (1998)
Wimbledon 3R (1998)
US Open 4R (1997)
Doubles
Career record 10–22
Career titles 0
Highest ranking No. 208 (2 August 2004)
This is a Catalan name. The first family name is Mantilla and the second is Botella.

Félix Mantilla Botella (Catalan: Fèlix Mantilla Botella [ˈfɛɫiɡz mənˈtiʎə βuˈteʎə]; 23 September 1974) is a former Spanish professional tennis player, born in Barcelona. In common with many of his fellow countrymen, Mantilla's best surface is clay. While not as successful away from the clay, Mantilla also produced good hardcourt results. Mantilla's best stroke was his single-handed backhand and he was known for his baseline consistency from both sides, high endurance levels. He reached the semi-finals of the 1998 French Open and achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 10.

Tennis career[edit]

Mantilla began playing tennis at the age of ten and was a member of the winning Spanish Sunshine Cup team along with Albert Costa in 1992.

Mantilla turned professional in 1993 playing Futures and Challenger events. In 1994 Mantilla won the Uruguay/Paraguay Satellite classification and was second in the Spanish satellite 2 and 4 events. He also played his first match on the ATP Tour in Prague, losing to compatriot Àlex Corretja in 3 sets.

At the beginning of 1994 Mantilla was ranked 301st in the ATP Entry Rankings, but at the end of 1995 he had progressed to 84th and had a 10–5 record for the season. Mantilla made his first two finals that year losing in the Budapest Challenger to Jiří Novák in 3 sets and following his first semi final appearance at the ATP level losing to Sjeng Schalken, it was followed up with his first final on the ATP Buenos Aires losing to Carlos Moyá in straight sets.

Mantilla's ranking had jumped up 66 places at the end of 1996 where he finished the year ranked 18th. He compiled a 48–27 record for the year mostly on the clay, and in the process won three Challenger titles, each of them without losing a set. This feat was achieved in Punta del Este defeating Kris Goosens in the final. Mantilla followed the success with victories in Naples over Karim Alami and later in the year in Tashkent over Lars Rehmann.

On the ATP main tour, Mantilla qualified for his first TMS event in Monte Carlo and defeated the two time Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera before losing in the quarter finals to Albert Costa. In the week before the French Open, Mantilla reached his second final in St Pölten losing to Marcelo Ríos.

In his grand slam debut at the 1996 French Open, Mantilla defeated Dirk Dier and Àlex Corretja, eventually falling to the eventual champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov in straight sets. After this he went onto win his first ATP title in Oporto over Hernán Gumy 6–7, 6–4, 6–3. Mantilla proceeded to make two more finals in Gstaad and Umag where he lost to Albert Costa on both occasions. In total for 1996 Mantilla won three Challenger titles and his first title in Oporto and made three finals.

In 1997 Mantilla went a career best of 53–22 for the season. He achieved his best result at the 1997 Australian Open before falling to finalist Carlos Moyà in the quarter finals. Mantilla made his first TMS final in Hamburg, losing easily to Andriy Medvedev. He then won all his four singles matches as Spain won the World Team Cup. After a disappointing second round exit to Magnus Larsson at Roland Garros, Mantilla went on a hot streak and won four titles in his next five tournaments at ATP level and in between made the final of the Braunschweig Challenger losing to Francisco Roig. Mantilla's run began at Bologna where defeated reigning French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, then followed up with titles in Gstaad over Joan Albert Viloca, in Umag over Sergi Bruguera and in San Marino over Magnus Gustafsson. Mantilla won another title in Bournemouth over Carlos Moyà and finished the year ranked 16th.

In 1998 Mantilla after losing a bet with Luis Lobo in Rome, in which he had to dye his hair blonde.[1] Mantilla reached his highest ever ranking of number 10 on 8 June after reaching the semi finals at Roland Garros losing to Carlos Moyà and defeating Thomas Muster in the quarter final gaining revenge for his loss in Rome against the same opponent who when Mantilla was eating a banana at the change of ends, had taken the banana out of his hands and started to eat it himself, at the end of the match Mantilla did not shake hands with Muster. He defended his title in Bournemouth defeating Albert Costa and made two finals on hardcourt in Dubai losing to Àlex Corretja and Long Island to Patrick Rafter.

Mantilla won his only title for 1999 in Barcelona over Karim Alami. He defeated world number 1 Pete Sampras at Indian Wells on hardcourt and managed to repeat the feat defeating the then number 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 on hardcourt as well. Apart from his title he reached the semis of the TMS events in Monte Carlo and Rome losing to Gustavo Kuerten and to Pat Rafter respectively. Mantilla said that "Rafter's backhand was so slow it was like his mother hitting the ball".[2]

Mantilla played his only Davis Cup match for Spain in a promotion and relegation tie against New Zealand in New Zealand for the 2000 Davis Cup. The big stars at the time Àlex Corretja, Albert Costa did not want to travel to Hamilton for the tie. Mantilla defeated Mark Nielsen in 5 sets on a fast hardcourt to help Spain gain promotion to the World Group along with Julián Alonso, Francisco Clavet and Joan Balcells of whom only Balcells competed in any of the winning ties in the winning campaign for the Spanish Davis Cup team in 2000.

Mantilla experienced the first of his shoulder problems and underwent surgery in 2000 and was sidelined for six months and did not return to tennis until January 2001. He won two consecutive Challengers in Espinho over Tommy Robredo and Barletta defeating Markus Hipfl, this was followed up with a final in Estoril losing to nemesis Juan Carlos Ferrero as he did in all 8 of their matches.[3] Later in the year he won Palermo defeating David Nalbandian after saving nine match points for the second time in his career and winning in his semi final victory over Albert Portas,[4] the first time was against Alberto Berasategui in the 1998 TMS Hamburg. Mantilla made two finals in 2002 in Doha and Indianapolis on hardcourt losing to Younes El Aynaoui and Greg Rusedski respectively.

At the 2003 Australian Open Mantilla played 4 consecutive 5 set matches, winning the first three and then after leading two sets to love he lost the fourth one to Sébastien Grosjean. In May Mantilla won the Internazionali d'Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome, his last and biggest career title to date, defeating the favourite Roger Federer 7–5, 6–2, 7–6 and becoming the first unseeded player to win the event. Mantilla said about his game "I don't have the serve of Sampras or the volley of Rafter or the talent of Agassi, you know. I must be very focus every point. I must be strong mentally."[5]

After 2003 Mantilla's career went into decline, with the onset of injuries to his Achilles tendon and to his shoulder and the game moving at a speed that Mantilla's game could not keep up with. In 2004 he was involved in two more memorable matches in his defense of his TMS Rome title, Mantilla was down 7–5, 5–0 against Robby Ginepri and came back to win the next 13 games to win the match 5–7, 7–5, 6–0 and in the process he saved 5 match points. The other was a 5 set thriller at the French Open against Marat Safin which he lost 6–4, 2–6, 6–2, 6–7, 11–9, which he served for the match 3 times and was unsuccessful.

Mantilla's last match of 2005 was against Guillermo Coria at the 2005 US Open and he did not play tennis due to shoulder problems until 2007. In 2006 it was discovered that Mantilla had skin cancer from which he has recovered.[6]

Mantilla returned to tennis in the 2007 Monza Challenger and qualified for the main draw winning his 3 qualification matches. In April 2007, Mantilla played his first ATP match since 2005 in Barcelona at the age of 32, where he lost in the second round to Carlos Moyá.

In 2008 Mantilla was working part-time with Wayne Odesnik and now he has been appointed by Tennis Australia as a coach to help Australian youngsters with their clay court game, he will move between Australia and Barcelona.[7]

Personal and quotes[edit]

Both of Mantilla's parents are schoolteachers.

He is a fan of FC Barcelona and also the Spanish actors Gabino Diego, Coque Malla and Juanjo Puigcorbé He has a large collection of Spanish movies and enjoys reading.

Paris is one of this favourite cities.

"When I come to Rome I always feel like a gladiator in the Colosseum", Mantilla said repeatedly through his championship run. "The people enjoy watching me. I'm just running and fighting all the time."[8]

Mantilla after he won TMS Rome. "I couldn't speak. The third (thank you) was to my other coach, that he was with me almost 11 years. His name is Jordi Vilaro. He was with me during my career. At one stage I said, 'I must change something because, you know, we know each other a lot.' I said, 'I need another motivation.' It was really hard to stop with him because he's my second father for me because he shows the way to me to humility and to humble, to be humble, and just to have respect for everybody. And that is very important for me just to remember the people who was with you always, no?"[7]

About his style of game. "I think, first of all, that I am hungry again, you know. The last two years my mentality was not as good as now. And for me, when you play like me that you must be running all the day, I don't have the serve of Sampras or the volley of Rafter or the talent of Agassi, you know. I must be very focus every point. I must be strong mentally. I did a very good preparation in the last couple of months, and that's the key. If I am strong physically, I am strong mentally. And when I am like that, I'm dangerous."[8]

Career finals[edit]

Singles: 21 (10 titles, 11 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend (Singles)
Grand Slam (0–0)
Tennis Masters Cup (0–0)
ATP Masters Series (1–1)
ATP Championship Series (1–1)
ATP Tour (8–9)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 13 November 1995 Argentina Buenos Aires Clay Spain Carlos Moyá 0–6, 3–6
Runner-up 2. 26 May 1996 Australia St. Pölten Clay Chile Marcelo Ríos 2–6, 4–6
Winner 1. 10 June 1996 Portugal Oporto Clay Argentina Hernán Gumy 6–7(5–7), 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 3. 14 July 1996 Switzerland Gstaad Clay Spain Albert Costa 6–4, 6–7(2–7), 1–6, 0–6
Runner-up 4. 11 August 1996 San Marino San Marino Clay Spain Albert Costa 6–7(7–9), 3–6
Runner-up 5. 18 August 1996 Croatia Umag Clay Spain Carlos Moyá 0–6, 6–7(4–7)
Runner-up 6. 12 May 1997 Germany Hamburg Clay Ukraine Andrei Medvedev 0–6, 4–6, 2–6
Winner 2. 9 June 1997 Italy Bologna Clay Brazil Gustavo Kuerten 4–6, 6–2, 6–1
Winner 3. 7 July 1997 Switzerland Gstaad Clay Spain Juan Albert Viloca 6–1, 6–4, 6–4
Winner 4. 21 July 1997 Croatia Umag Clay Spain Sergi Bruguera 6–3, 7–5
Winner 5. 4 August 1997 San Marino San Marino Clay Sweden Magnus Gustafsson 6–4, 6–1
Winner 6. 8 September 1997 England Bournemouth Clay Spain Carlos Moyà 6–2, 6–2
Runner-up 7. 15 February 1998 United Arab Emirates Dubai Hard Spain Àlex Corretja 6–7(0–7), 1–6
Runner-up 8. 30 August 1998 United States Long Island Hard Australia Patrick Rafter 6–7(3–7), 2–6
Winner 7. 14 September 1998 England Bournemouth Clay Spain Albert Costa 6–3, 7–5
Winner 8. 12 April 1999 Spain Barcelona Clay Morocco Karim Alami 7–6(7–2), 6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 9. 15 April 2001 Portugal Estoril Clay Spain Juan Carlos Ferrero 6–7(3–7), 6–4, 3–6
Winner 9. 24 September 2001 Italy Palermo Clay Argentina David Nalbandian 7–6(7–2), 6–4
Runner-up 10. 6 January 2002 Qatar Doha Hard Morocco Younes El Aynaoui 6–4, 2–6, 2–6
Runner-up 11. 18 August 2002 United States Indianapolis Hard United Kingdom Greg Rusedski 7–6(8–6), 4–6, 4–6
Winner 10. 5 May 2003 Italy Rome Clay Switzerland Roger Federer 7–5, 6–2, 7–6(10–8)

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 SR W–L
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A A A A QF 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 4R 1R 1R A A 0 / 9 7–9
French Open A A A A 3R 2R SF 4R 1R 1R A 4R 2R 3R A A 0 / 9 17–9
Wimbledon A A A A 1R A 3R 2R 1R 2R A 1R 2R 1R A A 0 / 8 5–8
US Open A A A A 2R 4R 2R 1R A 2R 1R 1R A 1R A A 0 / 8 6–8
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 3–3 8–3 8–4 4–4 0–3 2–4 0–2 6–4 2–3 2–4 0–0 0–0 0 / 34 35–34
ATP Masters Series
Indian Wells A A A A A 1R 1R 3R 1R A 1R 1R 1R A A A 0 / 7 2–7
Miami A A A A A 2R 2R 3R 3R A 3R 2R A A A A 0 / 6 4–6
Monte Carlo A A A A QF 2R 1R SF 2R A 2R 2R 2R 2R A A 0 / 9 13–9
Hamburg A A A A A F SF 2R 2R A 2R 2R A A A A 0 / 6 12–6
Rome A A A A A 1R 2R SF QF 3R 2R W 2R A A A 1 / 8 18–7
Canada A A A A A A A A A A 2R A A A A A 0 / 1 1–1
Cincinnati A A A A A A 1R A A 1R 1R 1R A A A A 0 / 4 0–4
Madrid1 A A A A 3R 2R A A A A 1R 3R A A A A 0 / 4 2–4
Paris A A A A 3R 2R A 1R A A 1R 2R A A A A 0 / 5 1–5
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 5–3 6–7 5–6 11–6 6–5 2–2 5–9 10–7 2–3 1–1 0–0 0–0 1 / 50 53–49
Year End Ranking 691 431 233 92 18 16 20 22 99 45 55 22 102 117 1110 425

1This event was held in Stockholm through 1994, Essen in 1995, and Stuttgart from 1996 through 2001.

References[edit]

External links[edit]