DelPo wins the first medal for Argentina at these Olympics and his first medal ever. After a long wait, he’s moved back to the no. 8 ranking. It may not be a gold medal tale, but this is tremendously well-earned for DelPo.
Apparently, the verb “to medal” or “medalling” is considered grammatically offensive. However, since DelPo won a bronze medal by defeating Novak Djokovic in straight sets, 7-5 6-4, I will employ whichever verb feels appropriate now:
That DelPo pulled himself together after losing to Fed in that heartbreaking SF (by the scoreline of 17-19 in the 3rd set) is a major feat. That he had pushed 7-time Wimby champ Fed to a high-quality match that was determined on a very fine margin, and then beat Djokovic (2011 Wimby champ) just two days later is another feat. That he played incredibly well, perhaps at a level even better than his 2009 form (for tennis has changed since then too), in both matches is yet another accomplishment.
Although his footwork wasn’t as efficient as it was against Fed, DelPo still came out strong and he hit running FHs and DTL winners that frustrated Djokovic. Novak’s reaction to an astounding FH from DelPo on BP was quite funny (I’ll post a link once I find the moment!)
So forgive him if he seems a little teary!
DelPo’s entire team jumped up to celebrate after he took MP. I’m positively sure that Franco was crying. DelPo had to cut short his ESPN interview, saying “I have to go, because I can’t cry on camera.” But they were happy tears this time.
In his post-match interviews, DelPo said that he cried until 3 in the morning after losing to Fed in the SF, which makes me want to cry too. But he regrouped. He won a medal, by beating Djokovic, who is certainly no mug on grass.
Fed and DelPo shared a lovely moment on the podium. I’m so glad both of them made it to the podium in London — that SF they played was worth it.
Quotes from DelPo & Fed:
- JMDP: “I’m the most happy man in the world at this moment. After a really sad day two days ago, it’s not easy to recover and to play these kind of matches. But I had energy in my body, in my heart, and that helped me face this big challenge.”
- Fed: “I came out and I saw Juan Martin [on the podium]. I said, ‘Wow. Great effort. I’m so happy for you after the brutal loss’ … I don’t think many were favoring Juan Martin to win that match. That was a great, great effort.”
This is an incredible result, on grass no less.
Muzz defeated Fed in straight sets for the gold medal, but I will get around to that later this week. For now, only joy for DelPo!
Enorme @delpotrojuan! Felicitaciones campeón y sobre todo, GRACIAS!!!—
Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) August 05, 2012
Right after the match, Ginobli sent his congrats to DelPo, after having written a thoughtful blog post about DelPo’s SF fight against Fed (Ginobli wrote a near 1,500 word blog post about it. He needed 400 words to explain why he didn’t attend DelPo’ match — it had to do with transportation problems and him needing to train for his own games or something, because he’s a basketball player. Pfft, Ginobli, pfft! ;))
What a great win for DelPo — these past two years have been a tough battle for him, so this is truly nice and heartwarming to see.
DelPo’s trademark “I’m so ecstatic” locker room photo: