The Argentinian camp leapt onto World No. 41 Federico Delbonis in Zagreb today as he clinched Argentina’s first ever Davis Cup title. More reminiscent of a soccer match rather than the typical tennis crowd, a spirited and excited crowd of fans packed the stadium to watch Argentina take on Croatia in one of the final major tennis tournaments of the year.
It’s a historical moment for Argentina: despite making this final four times prior, they had always had to settle for second place. With the help of renowned tennis players such as No. 38 Juan Martin del Potro and Delbonis, they finally took the crown today.
For Croatia, No. 6 Marin Cilic defended his country valiantly despite losing to del Potro on Sunday. After taking the first two sets he seemed to lose steam in the third, ultimately dropping it 7-5. A following time warning allocated to del Potro seemed to serve as motivation as he roared back to take the following two sets, clinching the match and another point for Argentina.
It was the first time ever that del Potro had come back from two sets down, and another accomplishment to add to what has been a solid season for him. After dealing with injuries, he stormed back this year to put on a determined display at the season’s Grand Slams and a fairytale run at the Rio Olympics that culminated in a silver medal. “Thanks to all those who prevented me from retiring…I was very close to never playing again and, well, here I am,” he said after the match.
Federico Delbonis took the court against Ivo Karlovic knowing that the title was on the line for Argentina. But if he was feeling nervous, he didn’t let it show: a confident demeanor and a prepared response for Karlovic’s big serves were all he needed to take care of business in just over two hours. The match ended 6-3 6-4 6-2 and Argentina took the Davis Cup, 3-2.
Fans decked out in blue and white, including soccer great Diego Maradona, rejoiced in the stands and the rest of Team Argentina rushed the court to celebrate their new place in history. It’s a testament to their dedication and the continued growth of the sport in their country that they have made this final five times and finally won it. It’s also a fitting ending to the year for del Potro, who despite his great play in 2016 did not have any titles to show for it up until now. Delbonis, 26 years old, showed his grit and proved he is someone to look out for in the upcoming season.
“Federico played a perfect match under huge pressure. I’m really proud to be part of this fantastic team,” said Argentinian team captain, Daniel Orsanic.