Ubitennis Exclusive: Horacio Zeballos Aims High Following Life-Changing Year
Relishing in the after effects of his country’s maiden triumph in the Davis Cup, Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos closes out 2016 with pride following a memorable season both on and off the court.
Earlier this year the 31-year-old ended his 21-month title drought in singles tournaments when he defeated Gerald Melzer in the final of the Poprad-Tatry Challenger in Slovakia. A month later he won his second title of 2016 at a Swedish Challenger in Bastad. Outside of the Challengers, Zeballos defeated Germany’s Florian Mayer at the US Open to win his first match in a major tournament since 2013. The trio of achievements contributed to his return back into the world’s top 100 after dropping to a low point of 160th in 2015.
The return to the top 100 wasn’t the stand out performance of Zeballos’ 2016 season. That accolade goes to his work in the doubles, where he won four ATP titles (three of which were with Chile’s Julio Peralta).
“It was a very complete year. In singles, doubles and personally. (I’m) happy to have played very well in doubles with Julio Peralta and have found a great companion.” He told Ubitennis.es.
“It was a very important year for me.” He added.
Zeballos’ success on the tour comes as he combines his professional career with fatherhood in what is a difficult task for many players on the tour. On April 22nd his daughter Emma was born. The birth brought a new perspective on life for the tour veteran, but he is still determined to chase after his dream.
“I am very happy. I am enjoying a lot, having the possibility to also travel with her.” He said about his baby daughter. “I think this has been my best year.”
— horacio zeballos (@HoracioZeballos) April 19, 2016
Despite the extra responsibility in his personal life, Zeballos still intends to play a full season in 2017 as he aims top re-enter the world’s top 50 for the first time since September 2013. At the upcoming Australian Open, he will be hoping to win his first main draw match at the tournament after suffering a trio of first round exits in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
“I might maybe change (my schedule) a little bit in the sense that I don’t do long tours or try to not make many trips by plane if they (partner and daughter) accompany me, but after that, no.” Zeballos said about his 2017 plans.
“I’m still playing the same amount of tournaments, I still am training and doing everything I need to do as a tennis player, but (I’m) enjoying life more outside of the Court.”
Confirming that he will continue his collaboration with doubles partner Peralta in the new year, Zeballos is set to one again play in a mixture of tournaments. This season he played in 18 Challenger and 13 ATP tournaments (including grand slams).
“Whenever I can enter in the ATP I will be present, but if I have to play Challengers I will do it because today the Challengers add points and the level of tennis is very high. Any tournament that I play I will give the most,” he concluded.
Currently ranked 71st in the world, Zeballos has achieved a win-loss of 45-29 this season. He is currently the sixth highest ranked Argentine in the Emirates rankings.