Juan Martin del Potro: Angelic Cross Kiss
August 7, 2009 · Print This Article
Having a little divine intervention never hurt any player, right? In the highly competitive world of men’s pro tennis, everything counts—from string tensions, to the sock thickness, and let’s not forget the good Lord above.
One player in particular, embraces not only the earth which has become the platform for his bludgeoned ground-strokes, but also the heavens above, which to his mind have made it possible. Juan Martin del Potro may become a future grand slam champ, but don’t expect to ever see his customary post match cross kiss dissipate.
Growing up in Tandil, Argentina, his parents Daniel and Patricia were supportive leaders who always stressed the importance of gratitude. The lanky 6′6″ baseline machine would use the wise words from his parents, to maintain perspective, while climbing up the steep ranking ladder.
With the development of his technique and court-craft, del Potro became increasingly adamant on paying tribute to his maker—not everyone was lucky enough to play on the ATP.
However, sticking to his regiment of playing with gratitude and perseverance, would become a difficult task. The beginning of the 2008 season would bring forth many question marks when testing the metal of the gracious and hard-hitting Argentine.
He would enter Wimbledon with a miserable 9-7 win/loss mark on the year. Del Potro had yet to reach a tour level final, and holding the No. 64 ranking position was respectable, but by no means a reflection of his abilities.
A higher power, and some hard work would be in order.
The much needed acquisition of coach, Franco Davin (Gaston Gaudio’s ex-coach) would be the first step in the process of fulfillment—in the long road ahead for the Argentine.
With the steadfast belief in his coach, and of course the powers above, del Potro would create the greatest turnaround of the year, by any player, to establish himself as a new tour star.
On the heals of four straight tour titles which spanned over Europe and the United States—both clay and hard-courts—the victories for the Argentine would continue to grow, each followed by a gesture to his maker.
The refreshing splash of del Potro’s success, would resonate throughout the tennis community. In a day and age of a abuse and dis-concern, for a young, good looking, seemingly had it all going for him athlete, to still be able to remain vigorous in his destination, while withholding his childhood belief system, would be an admirable feat by any standard.
Possessing first-tier mental fortitude, perhaps only to be rivaled by Rafael Nadal, del Potro’s steady, but magnified placement among the world’s elite continued to make head-ways back home.
He was simply not only a role-model in Argentina, but a statue of excellence for his legion of fans to adore and emulate.
It remains to be seen if del Potro’s spiritual outlook towards the game will underscore his immense talent, and constant desire for improvement. Certainly, it can be said that those who reside in a belief system which allows for constant hope to be achieved, will, inevitably find themselves happy regardless of their results. Anyone for a, what’s meant to be, is meant to be saying?
Often times, putting ones trust in a higher power, allows for less stress to be put on the actual execution, resulting in more clarity and passion to flow through the process.
Reaching a career high of No. 5 in the world, highlighted by a recent French Open semifinal berth, provided further evidence in the free-flowing arsenal of the 20-year-old.
The journey was certainly a long one.
Del Potro’s next task will be to penetrate the grand slam bubble which Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have ever-so-carefully cemented around the major championships.
Del Potro was able to clip Nadal once this year in Miami, and very nearly spoiled Federer’s coronation in Paris—both achievements provided further value towards his standing amongst the giants of the sport.
The Argentine’s decision to bypass the defense of the greater portion of the titles he won during the summer of ‘08, did not come under much scrutiny. If anything, the mature and precise decision to forgo smaller tour stops, in the light of being better prepared to combat the more point valued masters events, would highlight yet another positive attribute in del Potro’s development.
Overall, del Potro’s premise is a simple one: he envisions himself a legitimate contender to any crown, (trust me) that in itself is an innate trait most tennis players do not possesses.
The defense of his Washington title this week, will be the first hurdle on the road trip to the final major of the season.
With Rafa Nadal still a question mark in terms of his fitness, and Roger Federer adding two more plates to his balancing act of greatness, del Potro becomes the logical choice to capture his first slam title in New York. At the very least, he will be regarded as a top four contender.
Throughout the duration of the next six weeks, North America will granted the distinct privilege of hosting the greatest players on the planet—in their attempts to rule the hard-courts of the ATP. There will be many story-lines and accelerated forehands to behold—del Potro’s name may be at the top of both lists.
For those of you out and about this summer, on a leisurely (or intense) stroll throughout an ATP event, take a moment if you will, stop, and check out this young kid named Juan Martin del Potro.
He may not have the guns of Rafa; unlike Roger Federer he does in fact sweat. When fixating your tennis eyes on del Potro, you will be subjected to the following: a clean-cut kid, who upholds his roots to perfection, while designing his game-style based on the morals of his upbringing.
Win or lose, del Potro will continue to his mark on the competition, as well as the many venues across the globe—win or lose, del Potro will continue to give his customary angelic cross kiss to the heavens, as a token of the respect he has for his success.
Mom always said, going to Sunday school would pay off.