Can you win a five set tennis match on one of the biggest stages in the world while fighting a cold? Of course you can! Just ask Juan Martin Del Potro.
As custom on Labor Day, I plan my day around the US Open! When I saw that two of my favorite players were playing today, I was super pumped! Not only would it be one of the new(ish) guys, Dominic Thiem, playing against one of my all time favorites, Juan Martin Del Potro, but it would be a match played with heart by both!
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I have tremendous respect for both. Dominic had an incredible clay court season, but hasn’t quite found his footing on the hard courts. He really is on the cusp of something big! Juan Martin was in my top ten of my favorite clay court players and my prediction to win the US Open back in January.
As soon as the match started, I thought “Uh oh! This will be over in a matter of minutes.” Juan Martin had been battling a cold with fever for the past 48 hours. He was sniffling and sneezing, his nose was red and his face pale, with dark circles under his eyes. Things did not look good for Juan Martin. Meanwhile, Dominic dominated and stuck to his game plan and won the first set 6-1 and the second set 6-2. Don’t blink or this might be over.
But not so fast, my furriends! When Juan Martin called for a trainer towards the end of the second set, I honestly thought he was going to retire. But no, he asked for cold medicine (I presume) and got to business. With each point, he gained strength and focus…and the support of the crowd! He’s always a crowd favorite. Recall the Olympics last year. Brazil could not get enough of this gentle giant. He wears his heart of his sleeve and lets you see inside his soul. He feeds off of fan support. Fans want to connect with their player and he does it best!
It’s as if Thiem just disappeared and Del Potro was a runaway train. Juan Martin took the third set 6-1. But I’m thinking “This is nice. At least it’ll go to four sets and it will be a hard fought battle.” But Dominic managed to let the fourth set go to a tiebreak and guess who won it. Del Potro! Then feeding off of the crowd’s energy, Del Potro wins the final set 6-4!
Juan Martin Del Potro comes back from two sets down to win a five set match…while battling a cold. When I have a cold, I can barely walk across the room to my favorite toy.
I want you to understand something about this cool cat! Matches like this are hard for me to watch. I want both players to win, and for different reasons. And when they have all the elements combined together for a great tennis match, well I’m in a lot of trouble! It had an old guy, a new guy, a sickness, head games, power plays, close calls, bad calls, a rowdy crowd. Let me tell you, I’m exhausted. This has been “the match” of the tournament so far. Can’t wait to see what this final week has in store.
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