2016 has been another incredibly brilliant, wild and emotional year on the ATP and WTA, we all have favourite moments but two players who lit up 2016 for me Monica Puig and the big man himself Juan Martin Del Potro.
Monica Puig. I don’t know where to start.
I watched the Puerto Rican play at Eastbourne in early June, she had a good tournament she was then unlucky to run in Johanna Konta in round one at Wimbledon and then she arrived in Rio and the rest as they say is history.
Her target was to qualify for the Olympics, to challenge for Olympic medals and she even called her dog Rio a few months before the Summer’ games. Some including myself would have said unlikely but for Monica that was the target.
I can’t put into words how amazing it is, I remember getting home from work and staying up to watch it, this is history we are witnessing and tennis may never have a story as spectacular as this before and it was so emotional to watch. Within a couple of days Monica Puig quickly became one of the recognisable names in the sport. Ranked outside the top 30 and she produces the tennis of her life to win Olympic Gold it really is what dreams are made of and she made the dream a reality!
That is what tennis is about. That belief, spirit, fight, pride, passion and tears.
If I’m talking about passion and fight then look no further than Juan Martin Del Potro.
Be honest it didn’t look like a sustained return on the tour was likely for the Argentine and well I’m so pleased to see him playing again and at such a high level.
He has picked up Olympic Silver and defeated Murray, Thiem, Nadal, Djokovic and Wawrinka since he has returned and climbed from outside the top 1000 in the world to top 50. It’s remarkable.
He hasn’t ever given up and that is a lesson in life. The amount of setbacks he has had with this wrist injury has been tough as a fan to see, we all want to see him back and you won’t find a tennis fan anywhere who does love Del Potro.
His tennis is incredible and is such a down to earth playing and hearing the crowd roar support to him in New York down match point to Wawrinka and seeing the tears is what this sport is about, creating memories.
Puig and Del Potro created memories this year that will never be forgotten and they are a credit to their sport.