Federico Chingotto, also known as Fede Chingotto or “El Ratón”, is a professional paddle tennis player who was born in Neuquén, Argentina on April 13, 1997. Standing around 1.70 m tall, this athlete sneaks around like a mouse. He plays in the drive position and has strong defensive skills.
Fede, at the time, was a young talent from the Olavarrías Padel Association (APO) who became the number 1 player in Argentina when he was only 19 years old, thanks to the mentoring of José Armendanos.
Along with their friend and teammate Juan Tello, both got the attention after entering the main draw of the Alicante Open 2016. Shortly after they managed to reunite with the best players at the Monte Carlo Open 2016 but were defeated again by Paquito Navarro and Sanyo Gutierrez. Although it was their first step towards the World Padel Tour, they were already the best team in Argentina.
In 2017, they continued to progress and eventually reached three semifinals. It was in 2018, however, that Chingotto really shined. He won two tournaments and contested a total of four semifinals. In 2020, he increased his winning efficiency to around 70%, showing great improvement in a short time.
He moves so fast that he can reach comfortable positions at the net in a short time. He organizes the game in the back and has developed strong backhands, mainly with a close to the net shot against the 4 meter high back wall.
In the backcourt, he mostly hits flat shots near the net or high attacking lobs down the middle. He also covers larger areas as he relies on his partner to push and switch to offensive play.
Chingotto, in addition, usually returns shots to the center of the court and his partner handles offensive shots in the middle. He does not complicate the game too much and stands out for his simple and linear style that usually avoids unnecessary mistakes.
- Movement: “The Mouse” not only covers 60-70% of the court when in the backcourt, but does so with ease. Certainly quick reactions and movements are needed, but Chingotto exhibits a higher level of positional awareness. At such a young age, Fede has the decision-making ability of an experienced player, in fact, he is so comfortable defending that he manages to turn a defensive game into an attacking transition game.
- Shot Variation: Given his quickness on defense, his shot selection and shot type are virtually automatic decisions. He doesn’t seem to prefer to shoot a certain way and that’s one of the many problems opponents have to deal with. He also has great rebounding control through the wall, as well as good counter-attacks and good layups.
- Bandeja: As a proven drive player, Chingotto has a fantastic jump band with a powerful underlying spin. He does this very well and chooses wisely when the ball should be played parallel. This leaves minimal space to cover if the layup is somewhat short and the resistance tries to penetrate.
If he hits it farther from the middle, the best option is to play the tray with forward spin to the right side grid in front of him. But if he were to play the layup, with a shot from the middle to the opposite center corner, it would leave an unwanted open space right in front of him. Fortunately, and as mentioned, he has strong decision making and the ability to make different shots.
Most of the time, driving players don’t need to perform or surprise opponents with continuous smashes. But, paddle tennis changes quickly and suddenly. Drive players play backhand style to keep pace. Although Chingotto depends on his partner’s skills, opponents may find it easy to defend against him.
One of his weaknesses is that he lacks a powerful shot that sends the ball over the net to his side, and he does not usually show interest in defending his opponents’ shots at the net as his reach is not that high. In these cases, Chingotto relies on his partner to defend shots at the net on both sides of the court.
While it works against traditional duos, only his partner can recover big hits when faced with a double strike threat. We can say, however, that his lack of power and vertical reach has not been a problem yet.
A mentally tactical player
Fede has another important tactical role. Not only is he responsible for staying on the scoreboard defensively and creating opportunities for his partner to strike, he is also responsible for maintaining a constant and high mental positivity. When his teammate often attempts riskier shots, he opens himself up to more mistakes.
Chingotto needs to maintain team spirit and believe in his teammate at all times during a match. Tactically, psychological effects are a top priority. If, therefore, “The Mouse” wants to continue to climb the rankings and test his skills against tougher opponents, both he and his partner must be alert and motivated throughout the match.
By first time in their professional career Argentinians Fede Chingotto and Juan Tello decided to separate, after having started playing together back in 2015. We wish both of them the best of luck for their future and pro carrer.