New Balls, Please

"Climbing the Comeback Mountain with the Tower of Tandil."

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Just a Little Elf from Moving Rock

Posted by gauloises1 on September 17, 2009

Still no photos of JMDP’s hometown parade! But the press are loving this small-town boy makes good bit.

ARGENTINA-DEL POTRO-HOMETOWN

I want one of these flags so much it hurts.

A nice article from the AP:

A hand-painted sign in Juan Martin del Potro’s hometown of Tandil summed it up: ”Welcome to the capital of tennis.”

Del Potro’s upset victory over Roger Federer in Monday’s U.S. Open final has put the Argentine city of 150,000 — lying in the foothills of a lowly mountainous area 250 miles south of Buenos Aries — on the map.

It has also brought attention to the club Independiente de Tandil, where Del Potro switched to tennis after growing up playing soccer, rugby union and basketball.

Marcelo Gomez, who taught Del Potro how to grip a racket and coached him until two years ago, said Del Potro used to walk by the club’s tennis courts on his way to a soccer match. Eventually, he decided to give tennis a shot.

”Even then you could tell he had nerves of steel and great strengths,” Gomez said. ”His desire, his power and his concentration made me think that this child was going to stand out in tennis just like he did in soccer. He always wanted to play against others three or four years older — and he’d win. He is mentally very strong and that’s why he beat Federer.”

The 6-feet-6 Del Potro is known at home, one of the few cities in Argentina where tennis is as popular as soccer, as the ”Tower of Tandil.” Growing up, his friends called him ”Midget” and described his long, thin legs as ”little sticks.”

Because of his height and relative lack of mobility, Gomez said Del Potro worked on finishing off points quickly.

”He always played aggressively,” Gomez said. ”His size was going to limit his movement, so he always thought about the quick, hard-court game. His dream was the U.S. Open.”

Everyone around the club seems to know Del Potro, who turns 21 next week.

”I played 1,000 times against him and only won once,” said Bernardo Caballero, a tennis teacher at Independiente. ”He was so angry. He never liked to lose, he was so competitive.”

Perhaps the proudest person at the club is its president, Horacio Morrone.

”I watched him since he was young,” Morrone said. ”He was talented in soccer despite his height. He was a great goalscorer. If Juan Martin had stayed with soccer, he’d be a Maradona or Pele.”

Tandil has produced other tennis players on the ATP circuit: Juan Monaco, Mariano Zabaleta, Maximo Gonzalez, Diego Junquiera and Guillermo Perez Roldan.

However, its biggest sports stars may be Spain and Atletico de Madrid defender Mariano Pernia and Mariano Gonzalez, who won Olympic gold in 2004 in soccer.

Like the city, Del Potro’s family is comfortable yet not prone to publicity. His father Daniel is a veterinarian and mother Patricia a literature teacher, while he gave his 18-year-old sister Julieta a luxury car he won last year in a tournament in Stuttgart, Germany.

Tandil’s other claim to fame was the ”Moving Stone,” a large boulder which balanced on a ledge without falling — until it toppled in 1912. It has since been replaced with a duplicate stone that has also become famous.

”Now, Tandil won’t be known only as the city of the Moving Stone,” said Raquel Cingolani, who works in a clothing shop in the city. ”Now, Tandil is the city of Del Potro.”

The Club Independiente (there’s a certain ’empty swimming pool’ vibe going on here, don’t you think)?

Argentina Del Potro

ARGENTINA-DEL POTRO-HOMETOWN-GOMEZ

little elves

Little Elves.

Also, is anybody else getting a bit of a crush on Marcelo Gomez?

m gomez

m gomez2

And just because he’s so hot in this picture it makes me want to cry a little bit:

delpo

8 Responses to “Just a Little Elf from Moving Rock”

  1. irefusetotellyou said

    That last photo is definitely one of those things where WHEREVER YOU MOVE, the eyes are WATCHING you … and breaking your heart … because you can’t grope love him …

  2. Yu Tsun said

    How about this link? Great pics of Delpo’s homecoming. The ATP website says that there were only 3,000 people. These pics prove that estimation to be veeeery wrong. By the by, “siguiente” means “next” (pic).

    http://www.canchallena.com/galeria=1328-el-campeon-llego-a-tandil

  3. mrdarnley said

    Here’s another link with videos and pics.
    http://www.clarin.com/diario/2009/09/17/um/m-02000783.htm
    It’s in spanish but if you have the google toolbar it will give a very rough translation which is actually quite funny sometimes…

    “But for Del Potro, the city owes nothing to him but that is just the reverse: “I owe this to Tandil,” launched just hit him a microphone.”

  4. mrdarnley said

    This is the translations from one of the articles on the canchallena site …
    “…Tandil is my city and would not change no city in the world. In my heart, always will be. I hope people continue to suffer and enjoy the tennis, “Delp continued.

    funny!

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