Mariano Puerta

Mariano Rubén Puerta
Country (sports)  Argentina
Residence Buenos Aires, Argentina
Born (1978-09-19) 19 September 1978
San Francisco, Córdoba, Argentina
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Turned pro 1998
Retired 2009
Plays Left-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money US$ 1,695,028
Career record 128–118
Career titles 3
Highest ranking No. 9 (15 August 2005)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 2R (1999)
French Open F (2005)
Wimbledon 1R (1998, 2001, 2003, 2005)
US Open 2R (1999, 2005)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals RR (2005)
Career record 42–54
Career titles 3
Highest ranking No. 68 (2 August 1999)

Mariano Rubén Puerta (born 19 September 1978) is a former Argentine professional male tennis player. He reached a career-high Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world No. 9 singles ranking on August 15, 2005. His career highlights include reaching the final of the French Open in 2005, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in four sets.

Tennis career

Puerta made his debut on the ATP Tour in 1997, and turned professional in 1998. He won his first ATP title in 1998 in Palermo, Italy. In 2000, Puerta achieved his highest year-end ranking of World No. 21, reaching five finals, and winning one of them (Bogotá). That same year, however, he underwent wrist surgery, which kept him off the tour for several months.

Besides from not recovering his previous playing level, he was suspended from tennis for 9 months from October 2003 onwards for a doping offense (see section on doping controversies). Owing to the suspension he missed most of the 2004 season, and by August 2004 his world ranking had dropped to No. 440. He was reduced to playing Challenger-level tournaments for a while until he had earned enough points to return to the ATP Tour.

In 2005, Puerta made an eye-opening comeback on the Tour by winning the title in Casablanca and then making it to the final of the world's most prestigious clay court tournament, the French Open, where he eventually succumbed to Rafael Nadal in a close match (7–6(8–6), 3–6, 1–6, 5–7). By August 2005 he had climbed to a career-best World No. 9 in the ATP singles rankings, an advancement of 431 places in one year.

In December 2005, he was, again, suspended for a doping offense, this time for 8 years, effectively ending his professional career. This suspension was later reduced on appeal.

On June 6, 2007 Puerta returned to the professional circuit with a 6–4 6–3 victory over Australian Joseph Sirianni at the Sassuolo Challenger, a tournament to which he was invited as a wild card since he had no ranking.[1] In the second round, Puerta lost 6–3 6–0 to Spaniard Marc López. Since returning to the tour, Puerta has only played on the ATP Challenger Tour, including winning the Bogota challenger in 2008 and reaching the final of the San Luis Potosi Challenger in 2008 without dropping a set, where he was forced to default the final, and the Cordenons challenger in 2007.

Playing style

Puerta is left-handed and uses a single-handed backhand. He is an excellent clay-court specialist with a game that revolves around very accurate and powerful groundstrokes off both wings with heavy topspin. His main weaknesses are his mental strength, slow court speed and comparatively weak serve, the latter two which significantly prevents his success on fast surfaces. He is also very capable at the net, having good volleys and quick reflexes despite his slow court speed.

Doping controversies

In 2003, Puerta received a two-year doping suspension after testing positive for clenbuterol at Viña del Mar. In his defence, he argued that the substance had been administered to him by his doctor to combat asthma and that it had no performance-enhancing effect. The sanction was subsequently reduced to nine months suspension, effective from October 2003, and a $5600 fine.

In December 2005, Puerta was once again banned, this time after it was revealed that he had tested positive for the use of the cardiac stimulant, etilefrine, following his 2005 French Open final loss to Rafael Nadal. The suspension was for 8 years, the longest in tennis history at that time. As a result, Puerta was forced to forfeit all his rankings points and prize money from the 2005 French Open onwards, and had all his 2005 results from after the French Open, annulled. Puerta's runner-up finish at the 2005 French Open was allowed to remain on the record books.

The International Tennis Federation tribunal noted, however, that "The amount of etilefrine detected in the positive drugs test was too small to have any effect on his performance".[2] Puerta appealed against the ban, claiming on his web site that he only ingested trace amounts of it accidentally left over by his wife in a glass. On July 12, 2006 his suspension was reduced to 2 years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, making him eligible to restart his career on June 5, 2007.

Significant finals

Grand Slams

Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
2005 French Open Spain Rafael Nadal 7–6(8–6), 3–6, 1–6, 5–7

Career finals

Singles: 10 (3 titles, 7 runners-up)

Legend (Singles)
Grand Slam (0–1)
ATP World Tour Finals (0–0)
ATP Masters Series (0–0)
ATP International Series Gold (0–1)
ATP International Series (3–5)
Titles by Surface
Hard (0–0)
Clay (3–7)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 1. 10 August 1998 San Marino Open, San Marino Clay Slovakia Dominik Hrbatý 2–6, 5–7
Winner 1. 5 October 1998 Campionati Internazionali di Sicilia, Palermo, Italy Clay Argentina Franco Squillari 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 2. 21 February 2000 Mexican Open, Mexico City, Mexico Clay Argentina Juan Ignacio Chela 4–6, 6–7(4–7)
Runner-up 3. 28 February 2000 Chile Open, Santiago, Chile Clay Brazil Gustavo Kuerten 6–7(3–7), 3–6
Winner 2. 6 March 2000 Bancolombia Open, Bogotá, Colombia Clay Morocco Younes El Aynaoui 6–4, 7–6(7–5)
Runner-up 4. 10 July 2000 Swiss Open, Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Spain Àlex Corretja 1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 5. 17 July 2000 Croatia Open, Umag, Croatia Clay Chile Marcelo Ríos 6–7(1–7), 6–4, 3–6
Runner-up 6. 7 February 2005 ATP Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina Clay Argentina Gastón Gaudio 4–6, 4–6
Winner 3. 4 April 2005 Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco Clay Argentina Juan Mónaco 6–4, 6–1
Runner-up 7. 5 June 2005 French Open, Paris, France Clay Spain Rafael Nadal 7–6(8–6), 3–6, 1–6, 5–7

Wins (3)

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner( Opponents in the final Score in the final
Winner 1. Bancolombia Open, Bogotá, Colombia Clay
Winner 2. Clay
Winner 3. Clay


Performance timeline


(W) Won tournament; reached (F) final, (SF) semifinal, (QF) quarterfinal; (R#) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a (RR) round-robin stage; reached a (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; or (NH) tournament not held.
Professional career
Tournament 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 W–L
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A 2R 1R A A 1R A A A A A A 1–3
French Open Q? 2R 3R 2R 2R 2R A F A A A A 12–6
Wimbledon 1R A A 1R A 1R A 1R A A A A 0–3
U.S. Open 1R 2R 1R A A 1R A 2R A A A A 1–4
Win-Loss 0–2 3–3 2–3 1–2 1–1 1–4 0–0 6–1 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 14–16
Year-End Championship
ATP World Tour Finals RR 0–0
National representation
Summer Olympics Not Held A Not Held A Not Held A Not Held A NH 0–0
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells Masters A 1R A A A A A A A A A A 6–6
Miami Masters A 1R A 1R A A A A A A A A 0–2
Monte Carlo Masters A A 2R 1R A A A 3R A A A A 3–3
Madrid Masters A A A 3R A A A A 0–0
Rome Masters A 1R QF 1R A A A A A A A A 3–3
Hamburg Masters A 3R 3R 1R A A A 2R A A A NMS 4–4
Canada Masters A A 1R A A A A QF A A A A 0–1
Cincinnati Masters A A 2R A A A A 1R A A A A 1–1
Shanghai Masters Not Held NMS Not Held NMS A 0–0
Paris Masters A A 1R A A A A 2R A A A A 0–1
Career Statistics
Finals 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 10
Titles 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3
Year-End Ranking 786 764 424 141 39 101 21 254 116 118 133 56[3] 261 195 311

Walkovers are neither official wins nor official losses.

See also


  1. "Puerta: "Espero terminar el año entre los 100 mejores", Clarí, 7th June 2007.
  2. The Associated Press (December 22, 2005). "Puerta Is Facing the Longest Ban in Tennis History". - Sports. The New York Times ( Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  3. "Year End Singles Rankings for 2005",, 26th December 2005.
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