Coronavirus: Del Potro 'still nervous' watching US Open final win over Federer

By Sports Desk April 05, 2020

Juan Martin del Potro was "still nervous" as he watched a replay of his US Open final win over Roger Federer in 2009.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought sport to a standstill around the world, with many broadcasters opting to show classic matches from the past.

Del Potro, whose career has been ravaged by injuries, won his only grand slam 11 years ago, beating Federer in a five-setter in New York.

On his Instagram story on Saturday, the Argentinian was watching a replay of his 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory.

Del Potro wrote: "[It's] 11 years later and I'm still nervous."

Del Potro, 31, was last in action in mid-2019 before needing surgery on his knee.

The ATP and WTA Tour seasons are suspended until at least July 13, with Wimbledon having been cancelled for the first time since World War II.

Related items

  • Nadal's rivals still asking 'what could I do?' 15 years after Puerta was puzzled in Paris Nadal's rivals still asking 'what could I do?' 15 years after Puerta was puzzled in Paris

    It is 15 years since Rafael Nadal lay sprawled on his beloved red clay with a look of disbelief on his face after winning his first French Open title.

    The fresh-faced teenager had realised his dream just two days after turning 19, beating an unseeded Mariano Puerta 6–7 (6–8) 6–3 6–1 7–5 under grey Paris skies.

    King Juan Carlos of Spain was among those fortune enough to see the Mallorca native win his first grand slam final on Court Philippe Chatrier.

    Little did the beaming monarch know he had witnessed the start of a dynasty as he embraced his compatriot, wearing a green vest and long white shorts.

    With long hair flowing like a rock star and the bulging biceps of a boxer, Nadal may not have resembled a future royal back in 2005, but his incredible exploits since have ensured he will forever be known as the 'King of Clay'.

    Puerta told the media after that showdown a decade and a half ago: "When I went off the court, I knew I had lost against the best player in the world on clay. What could I do?"

    That is a question so many have tried and failed to find an answer to.

    With phenomenal athleticism, a powerful serve, blistering groundstrokes, deft lobs and drop shots, the domineering left-hander was too good for Argentine Puerta.

    Nadal was not at his brilliant best, though, and there were some ominous words from his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, after his maiden grand slam triumph.

    "In every facet of the game he can be better," he said. "And, boy, if he works, and masters more of his game. Then and only then we can win several of these.

    "He doesn't work just to win matches, but to be the best, to be number one."

    Fifteen years on, Nadal this week celebrated his 34th birthday with a record 12 French Open titles to his name and 19 majors in total, one shy of Roger Federer's haul.

    Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic are the only players to have beaten the legendary Spaniard in his 95 matches at Roland Garros.

    You have to go back to 2015 since his last loss in his favourite major, at the hands of Djokovic, and the world number two has lifted the La Coupe des Mousquetaires in each of the last three years.

    The coronavirus pandemic prevented Nadal from adding to his tally this month, but he may get the opportunity to continue one of the most astonishing sporting runs of dominance in September.

    They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and provided he stays fit, the irrepressible Nadal's love affair with Paris is far from over.

  • On this day in sport: Maiden Roland Garros title for Nadal, Jordan defies belief in NBA Finals On this day in sport: Maiden Roland Garros title for Nadal, Jordan defies belief in NBA Finals

    Rafael Nadal has celebrated plenty of times on Court Philippe Chatrier, but the jubilation he felt on June 5, 2005 is likely to live with him forever.

    It was on this day 15 years ago when 'The King of Clay' won the first of his, to date, record 12 French Open titles.

    Novak Djokovic and Francesca Schiavone were also crowned champions on June 5 in years gone by, while Michael Jordan produced one of the shots of his career in the 1991 NBA Finals.

    Here we take a look at the most memorable sports events to have occurred on June 5.

     

    1991 - Mid-Air Jordan switches hands for stunning lay-up

    At this point 29 years ago Jordan was still the nearly man; a two-time MVP who had yet to win a championship ring.

    The Chicago Bulls had lost Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers too, but they would level the series at home with a convincing 107-86 victory in Game 2 as Jordan scored 33 points.

    But his display that night is best remembered for a single shot in the third quarter. Jordan drove towards the basket ready for a right-handed dunk, only to switch the ball into his left hand in mid-air upon seeing Sam Perkins and somehow flip a shot up off the glass and through the net to astound those in Chicago Stadium.

    The Bulls would go on to win the series 4-1, beginning a dynasty that would see them dominate the NBA for most of the next decade.

     

    2005 - Nadal begins French Open dominance

    At this point 15 years ago Nadal was still a promising teenager hoping to win his first grand slam.

    However, he was considered the favourite in the final against Mariano Puerta, having won three clay-court tournaments in the build up to the French Open and, despite dropping the first set, he would emerge victorious 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5.

    Nadal has won all but three French Opens since, though on June 5, 2016, it was Djokovic lifting the trophy as he beat Andy Murray in four sets to complete a career grand slam.

     

    2009 - England stunned in World Twenty20 opener

    Eleven years ago England suffered one of their most humiliating losses in any format.

    In the opening game of the second World Twenty20 tournament, the hosts were expected to encounter few difficulties against the Netherlands at Lord's.

    With England, who failed to hit a single six, having made 162-5 first up after being restricted to 73 in the second half of their innings, it came down to the chasing side needing two off the final ball to clinch a famous victory.

    And they got them in farcical fashion as Stuart Broad's overthrow allowed Edgar Schiferli to scamper through for a second, sealing an incredible four-wicket win for the Netherlands.

     

    2010 - Schiavone makes grand slam history

    Tennis fans had become accustomed to the sight of Nadal winning grand slams by 2010 when Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach a major singles final.

    The 17th seed was up against Australia's Sam Stosur – who had beaten Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way – and it was Schiavone who came out on top 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

    Schiavone not only became the first Italian woman to win a grand slam singles title, but she was also the second-lowest ranked woman to win at Roland Garros in the Open era.

  • Coco Gauff's powerful Black Lives Matter plea: Love each other, take action, don't be silent Coco Gauff's powerful Black Lives Matter plea: Love each other, take action, don't be silent

    Coco Gauff delivered a call for action at a Black Lives Matter rally in Florida as the 16-year-old American tennis rising star said: "I demand change now."

    In a powerful speech, Gauff told a crowd outside Delray Beach City Hall to engage in "tough conversations" and "use your voice", stressing racism was a problem that involved everyone.

    The death last week of African-American man George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has sparked protests across the United States and beyond.

    Gauff has called on her social media followers to campaign for justice to be served in that case, and in her speech she repeated a message she shared earlier in the week: that "being silent is choosing the side of the oppressor".

    Protests have centred on police brutality towards the black community.

    Gauff said it was "sad" she was having to deliver a message on injustices her grandmother fought against half a century ago.

    The teenager is a major rising star in her sport. She reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last July as a 15-year-old and won her first WTA singles title in Linz, Austria, in October. She is ranked 52nd in the world and is expected to be a future top-10 star.

    Billie Jean King, who led the fight for gender equality in tennis, praised Gauff's stance by tweeting: "Thank you, @CocoGauff, for using your platform to speak to both the young and the not so young about injustice. We stand with you and the entire black community."

    This is the full text of the speech Gauff gave in Delray Beach:

    "Hi everyone. My name is Coco and I just spoke with my grandma and I think it's sad that I'm here protesting the same thing that she did 50-plus years ago.

    “I'm here to tell you we must first love each other, no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with friends. I have spent all week having tough conversations and trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement.

    "Second, we need to take action. Yes, we're all out here protesting and I am not of the age to vote - but it is in your hands to vote for my future, for my brothers' future and for your future, so that is one way to make change.

    "Third, you need to use your voice: no matter how big or small your platform is, you need to use your voice.

    "I saw a Dr [Martin Luther] King quote that said the silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people. So you need to not be silent, because if you are choosing silence, you are choosing the side of the oppressor.

    "I've heard many things in the last week and one of the things I've heard is, 'It's not my problem'. This is why I have to tell you this: if you listen to black music, if you like black culture, if you have black friends, then this is your fight, too.

    "It's not your job, it's not your duty, to open your mouth to say Lil Uzi Vert is my favourite artist but I don't care what happened to George Floyd? Now how does that make sense?

    "So I demand change now. And it's sad that it takes another black man's life to be lost for all of this to happen, but we have to understand that this has been going on for years. This is not just about George Floyd. This is about Trayvon Martin. This is about Eric Garner. This is about Breonna Taylor.

    "This is about stuff that's been happening. I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed. So why am I here at 16 still demanding change?

    "And it breaks my heart because I'm fighting for the future for my brothers. I'm fighting for the future for my future kids. I'm fighting for the future for my future grandchildren. So, we must change now, and I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information, spread awareness and fight racism.

    "Black lives have always mattered, they mattered then, they matter now, and they will matter in the future. Thank you."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.