Buenos Aires, Sep 8 (IANS) The “Argentina Legion’s” successes are all but a distant memory and with Juan Martin del Potro injured, there are no tennis players from the South American nation in the world’s top positions.
Argentina was left with no representatives on the third day of the US Open in New York when the only player who made it through to the second round, Diego Schwartzman (World No.74), was knocked out in three sets by Spaniard Rafael Nadal (8), reports Xinhua.
This latest performance from the South American country was Argentinian tennis’ worst in a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2010 when five Argentinian players went out in the first round.
With only five players among the top 100 of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and only two within top 50, Argentinian tennis longs for the days when their players became a world power in the first decade of the 21st century.
Leonardo Mayer (34), Juan Monaco (43), Federico Delbonis (63), Diego Schwartzman (74) and Guido Pella (94) are the Argentinians that appear among ATP’s top 100.
The golden years when Argentina dominated the world rankings and won all the titles and finals is in the past. From 2000 to 2009, Argentina had 21 players among the world’s top 100. They even managed to have 11 in the top 25.
Many of the players from that era reached top 10 such as Guillermo Coria (No.3 in 2004), David Nalbandian (3 in 2006), Gaston Gaudio (5 in 2005) and Guillermo Canas (8 in 2008).
One of the biggest highlights of that era took place during the 2004 French Open when three Argentinians made it to the semi-finals — Gaudio defeated Coria to take home Argentina’s first Grand Slam in 25 years.
Nalbandian, who lost the 2002 Wimbledon final, achieved his biggest success when he won the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. He defeated Swiss Roger Federer (2), who was ranked World No.1 at the time.
The appearance of del Potro towards the end of the last decade, after winning the 2009 US Open and coming in at No.4 in ATP’s list in 2010, marked a line of continuity between the former players and the new generations.
Even though many people predicted great things for the player, continuous injuries have interrupted his career. In the past three years, since winning the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, del Potro has barely competed and due to this is currently ranked 582.
However, there is still hope as Argentina will travel to Belgium in a few weeks to play against the local team in the Davis Cup semifinals.
Perhaps winning the Davis Cup, which has managed to evade Argentina throughout history (Argentina is the only team to have played four finals and never be crowned champion) will bring about a revival for Argentinian tennis when it is needed most.