In her first diary from the US Open, Reem Abulleil discusses Denis Shapovalov's act of sportsmanship, David Ferrer's farewell and Kevin Anderson's Kelly Clarkson fandom.
Sportsmanship was on display in its purest form on Monday night as Denis Shapovalov consoled his fellow Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime on court, after the latter was forced to retire from their US Open first round with a heart issue.
After splitting the first two sets, Shapovalov went up 4-1 before Auger-Aliassime had to stop. The 18-year-old qualifier was in tears as his good friend hugged him and walked over to his bench with him.
Shapovalov admits it was “tough” seeing his friend end the match like that, but he’s certain Auger-Aliassime has a bright future ahead of him.
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“I told him at the net we’re going to be back here and we’re going to have so many of these,” revealed the 19-year-old Shapovalov.
“That you’ll be back and we’ll be playing finals here. All good brother.”
It was a very moving moment between the two up-and-comers and a great sign of what’s to come from this younger generation of players.
PROPS TO WARRIOR FERRU
The emotional night continued as David Ferrer played the final Grand Slam match of his career, but also had to retire during the match, against Rafael Nadal, with a calf problem.
“It was special because I finish my last Grand Slam playing in the center court with Rafael Nadal, because he’s a very good friend. Well, sad because I can’t finish the match. Is not a problem. I am a lucky man,” said Ferrer.
Tributes for the Spaniard came pouring in, with Roger Federer tweeting: “Ultimate respect for road warrior @DavidFerrer87.”
Feliciano Lopez retweeted Federer’s post and added: “Every single word I subscribe. Amen.”
SINCE HE’S BEEN GONE
The night session on Arthur Ashe stadium kicked off with a brilliant performance from pop star Kelly Clarkson, whose song “Stronger”, with the lyrics “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, felt like an apt prelude to Serena Williams’ first round match that followed Clarkson’s medley of hits.
While Clarkson was performing, Kevin Anderson was in a gruelling five-setter against Ryan Harrison. When the 2017 runner-up got through it, his wife Kelsey revealed his immediate first thought.
“@KAndersonATP grinds out a grueling 5 setter to reach round 2 of the US Open… His thoughts after the match? “I can’t believe I missed @kelly_clarkson!”
We can’t believe it either, Kevin!