Every time the second half of the year begins to take its first steps, the world of tennis savors the last Grand Slam of the year. The US Open and everything that leads tennis stars to see action in New York always holds the best season finale.
There are no exceptions, not even when in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic forced the development of the game without an audience.
This year everything returned to normal to see the full stadiums and that heat that the public provides.
With the dominance of pieces of the stature of the Serbian Novak Djokovic, the Spanish Rafael Nadal, the Swiss Roger Federer or the American Serena Williams, the white sport – and especially the US Open – has seen few racquets of Hispanic origin transcend; However, this has not prevented the positive results of this platoon from coming to light from time to time.
The new promise of the US Open
Last Saturday, September 11, tennis watched with amazement as a girl of just 19 years old said present at the final of the last Major on the calendar. Leylah Fernández, although with the Canadian flag on his side, shows Latin roots in his last name.
His father, a native of Ecuador, is also present in his development within the discipline as his coach. Although the southern country does not boast of the largest rackets in the region, the fervor that Andrés Gómez generated decades ago and his champion trophy at Roland Garros produced thousands of new followers of the white sport in its territory and from there the first steps are also born of Leylah in said activity.
Although before the US Open he did not make much noise on the circuit, what was seen in the Big Apple promises to put the spotlight on his diminutive but powerful figure.
The openings, a reliable serve and the speed emanating from the legs of a young athlete came together to make her the star of the main upsets at Flushing Meadows.
In fact, she left three WTA top-fives behind to settle into the final, which heralds a promising performance throughout her career.
Leylah speaks Spanish because he understands his roots and does not abandon them. Just as her father did everything for her, her tennis is also a source of pride in the region.
Venezuelan with colors of the Motherland
In Garbiñe Muguruza’s career there is a clear before and after. It was in the 2014 season when the one born in Venezuela and under the colors of the Spanish flag gave the hit at Roland Garros, second great of the year, by beating the all-powerful Serena Williams in straight sets.
It was a monologue by Muguruza, who upon defeating the living legend had nothing to say; However, it was her rival who encouraged her to continue with that confidence that characterized her in that duel. According to the same American, the greeting on the network allowed her to comment that at that rate she would win the tournament.
It was not on that occasion, but two years later.
In New York, the Spanish-Venezuelan has reached the fourth round in a couple of opportunities, the last of them this same season.
Small but mighty
Today the Latino with the greatest transcendence in the men’s circuit is Diego Schwartzman. The “Peque” is characterized by his short stature in a world of giants, however, that does not stop him.
The South American’s speed is rare, which has allowed him to be one of the most difficult guys to beat regardless of the risk he takes with the starts. That own speed to react is not only shown when going from one side to the other, it also boasts a striking explosiveness if you must cut the rhythm and go to the net.
The one from Buenos Aires knows what it is like to show himself in the Big Apple, with two appearances in the quarterfinals of the US Open in nine disputed editions.
Schwartzman is one of the favorites of the North American public, who have not stopped expressing their support according to the time and returns to the capital of the world.
Although the cement and the speed that the ball takes with each impact compromises him, practice has made him a master accustomed to seeing himself with a high seed and measuring himself against the best of the white sport in each season.
The last champion of the US Open
Argentina has the last US Open champion born in South American territory. It was Juan Martín del Potro, who in 2009 won in five sets in the final against Federer, in the eyes of many the greatest in the discipline.
With outstanding height, del Potro moved away from the rest of the serving group with a game that did not limit him to his service. Also living off his displacement was key, so he always worked to do work in other areas and feed his arsenal.
A shocking forehand that has led him to counter his rivals, an unorthodox but effective backhand, and a good enough condition to play counterpunch without having to go down that far, tennis put him on the map quickly in 2008, when he won. four tournaments in a row as a rookie. No other guy has achieved such a milestone.
But after what was done in 2009 in the Big Apple, del Potro’s life changed completely. Injuries to his wrists set him off a path that seemed destined for untold success. He was even seen as that element that would lead a generation of relief that also featured players like the Canadian Milos Raonic and the Japanese Kei Nishikori.
That did it; however, his physique pushed him away for a long time.
But when the quality is there, it doesn’t matter if the years start to add up. The Argentine will not be that number one in the world that he seemed to be a decade ago, but when he is healthy he is capable of anything. The best example was the victory in the first round of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (2016), where he got rid of Djokovic in a spectacular commitment.
The last headache of the South American made him go under the knife. This time, his knees took him away from the white sport for another long time, but that does not detract from his space among the best of his generation. Del Potro still struggles to return and continue doing what he does and loves so well. If all goes well, 2022 will probably be the regular return of the Argentine, the last Latino to be crowned in New York and who hopes to take another bite out of the Big Apple.