My tummy hurts, but boy! was it worth it. Didn’t notice when I got so involved in the US Open Men’s Singles Final between Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro. The first set was quite a disappointment for all Del Potro fans as easy smugness crept into the Federer camp. Their man was in sublime form. He had, it seemed, studied Del Potro’s game to the T and was completely out playing the ridiculously handsome big Argentinean. It looked like one of those ‘no match’ matches and I was starting to get so very disheartened by what I thought was going to be a completely humiliating game loss for the 20-year old. I just didn’t have the heart to watch it, but when Federer is at his best like he was in the first set, it’s mesmerizing and impossible to look away from the T.V. screen. To distract myself from the game (which I had waited for, for over 5 hours) I decided to chop beans thinking it was already in the bag for arguably the best player on the planet. I don’t like one-sided matches (except when Chelsea are playing and winning), so getting dinner ready side by side, seemed like a bright idea at the time. It wasn’t, and not just because I now have a big gash on my index finger which makes typing quite painful. Well, that ought to teach me for not giving my full attention to a match which was destined to end the reign of the ‘king’ of New York. Anyway, I was one of those rare people, apart from the Argentinians, who was rooting for Del Potro. Federer has won everything out there (and most of them more than once!) so I wanted someone new, someone younger, (someone as gorgeous as Del Potro) to win. You can’t claim to be a Tennis fan, if you aren’t a Roger Federer fan, so I had made my peace with the Del Potro’s chances of winning being a distant dream (even if it was an incredibly wonderful one). Del Potro’s early nerves got the better of him, but boy, did he get into another gear towards the middle of the second set when Federer looked like he will romp home with consummate ease. Coming from behind Delpo forced the tie break and well, somewhere in the game, when the going got tough, Federer got mad. He said a nasty thing or two using the ‘f-word’ to the chair umpire. This made me support Delpo even more, (I just don’t understand unsporting behaviour), and according to me, the more successful a player, the more it becomes his duty to be gracious and sporty (at all times) because they are the people, we all look up to. Reminds me of what Spiderman’s uncle said to him in the movie, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
Federer who is a master psychologist had his tactics and his mind-games all figured out in the first set but they started to fall apart later in the game. (Federer, you don’t need no games…. you got the sport). Del Potro showed incredible character, skill, attitude and immense talent to win a very entertaining, nerve-wrecking final and we had a new US Open Champion. A Star is born… the new US Open Champion, only the second- Argentinian to win the US Open, the 6’6 20-year old, the incredibly handsome… Juan Martin Del Potro!
The closing shot of the TV coverage, showed the Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the lights shinning bright and the chairs all empty. It was hard to believe that this was place where such heroic drama had unfolded minutes ago,where hope and despair were separated by only a net, where a twenty year old came in with a dream and made it come true giving hope to millions of youngsters not only in Argentina but all over the world; inspiring them to think big and do something about it. Del Potro was gracious in his moment of victory and praised Federer, calling him the better player. Sport truly is remarkable.
PS: Delpo, does your tummy hurt too?