Tuesday, September 15, 2009
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I used to liken him to the Beast in The Beauty and The Beast. His 6'6" behemoth is beastly, add to that his always not-quite-shaven face. He's got a long wingspan which is potentially a great weapon in every tennis match. Add to that his Latino tenacity and passion which his people are so known for. Meet Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open Men's Singles Champion.
Exactly 12 months ago, he was this teenager who was just having this mean winning streak in the North American hard courts. His winning streak propelled him straight into the top 10, making everyone take notice. However, his breakout was not really the most celebrated one in tennis as another athlete in the person of Andy Murray was more celebrated by both the ATP rankings and the media.
At first it was Novak Djokovic, then came Andy Murray. Djoke was almost successful since his 2008 Aussie Open win marked the first time a non-Federer or Nadal won in 4 years. However, it proved to be not so special. He battled a then-sick Federer in the semis and finished off a then-unknown Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Andy Murray has been all hype but no major. Though he was successful in pushing Rafael Nadal out of the top 2 since 2005, his no-major-trophy status makes him more of a pretender than a contender.
What makes Juan Martin del Potro different from the two is this -he's the first person to defeat both Nadal and Federer in a major. He downed Rafa in straight sets during their semis encounter and he came from behind to claim his first major over Federer in a 4-hour 5-setter.
At first it was the Big Three. Then came Murray, which created the Big Four. Now comes del Potro. Big Five? How about Andy Roddick? Big Six? How about Tsonga, Gonzales, Verdasco and Soderling? Nah, for the first time, the men's tennis is wide open. It's becoming a lot more exciting.
And oh, congrats Kim Clijsters for winning as well!
This post was written by: Jerick Baluyot
Jerick Baluyot is a professional blogger, writer and digital marketing specialist. Follow him on Twitter