One of the most moving scenes in recent French Open memory were witnessed when Juan Martin del Potro, Argentinean tennis player, consoled opponent Nicolas Almagro, Spanish tennis player, after he quit their match in tears over a knee injury.
Following the withdrawal, del Potro was given a free pass into the third round. However, he underlined his status as one of the gentlemen and instead of celebrating, helped the Spaniard from the court. He also sat on the benches for some time with a consoling arm around Almagro.
Almagro, 31, was nursing a left knee injury that had forced him to retire from a match in Rome two weeks ago. An hour and a half into their second-round match, he hunched over, hands on his knees.
As the umpire and del Potro moved toward him, Almagro started shaking his head, placed both hands on his face and collapsed to the ground, where he lay wracked with sobs.
The Argentinean player then signaled for a bottle of water to be brought over and even opened it for his opponent. He then helped him stand up and sat beside him, consoling him.
"I told him that tennis is important, but health matters more than tennis in this case. He was in agony. It was tough” said Del Potro.
“I just do what my heart feels. I say to him, ‘Try to be calm. Try to think about his family, his baby.’ And, sometimes, the heart is first,” he further added.
Del Potro will next face tennis legend Andy Murray.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters