“I always say that for me he is like Maradona…”: former Argentine tennis player surrendered at the feet of “Chino” Ríos

“I always say that for me he is like Maradona…”: former Argentine tennis player surrendered at the feet of “Chino” Ríos
“I always say that for me he is like Maradona…”: former Argentine tennis player surrendered at the feet of “Chino” Ríos

Although he head 2 head favors him with a total of four wins and three losses, Mariano Zabaleta was never able to fully recover from the final that Marcelo Ríos won against him to snatch the Hamburg Masters 1000 from him twenty-five years ago. In five sets, perhaps the matches most marathon that they both starred in, That time “Chino” won by partial scores of 6-7(5), 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(5) and 6-2. For the Argentine tennis player, then twenty-one years old, it was a dream to win a tournament of that category.

“To make it clear, players like Del Potro won one, Murray I think five or six, and they are outstanding,” he appealed in a relaxed chat with the Bolavip local. “It is very difficult to win a Masters 1000 and at 21 years old I had match point in the end”.

Reach the decisive meeting, allowed Zabaleta to occupy 21st place in the worldHowever, “if I had won that game there were 13 left,” so “When I lost that match point I was sad, I cried”. But she kept her regrets after a little while. “I don’t give a damn, I’m going to have other possibilities,” he told himself, although he never reached that stage again in one of the nine competitions. At most, “I made the semi-final in Rome and some quarter-finals.”

Mariano Zabaleta on a visit to Chile in 2011.

In any case, the Argentine knew that he had Marcelo Ríos in front of him, the best Chilean tennis player in history and, why not, one of the most transcendent on the continent. “I always say that for me Chino Ríos is like Maradona”praised him when he was consulted about his figure. “It’s a lot to say that Ríos is like Maradona, but I say it because of his style, because of that left foot, because of his talent and he did everything differently”.

“I had played several games with Chino and we were even in history. “That match was incredible, it lasted more than five hours and he was like three or four in the world at that time,” he later described the clash. Although, specifically, Ríos was already eighth.

In any case, Zabaleta confessed that some time later he spoke again with the left-hander from Vitacura about that final: “As a result of that match, he has pubalgia and ends up having surgery. I recently spoke to him and he told me ‘That damn match, that final that we played for like five hours…’”.

“I compare that final to when in the world of soccer it is said that the ball hit the post and came out, and that’s how it was,” he concluded.

Watch the highlights of the match here:

 
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