Monday, September 14, 2009

Tennis: Del Potro's 2009 US Open Victory Speech

Woo hoo for Del Potro. That was an amazing victory over Federer. A victory he had every right to savor. Which he did - in spite of a miserly Dick Enberg, the CBS Sports commentator and host of the prize ceremony.

For those who weren't able to watch the match's concluding moments, Del Potro dutifully answered Enberg's questions. Half-way into the rather embarrassing recitation (by Enberg) of the dollar amounts Del Potro had won and the names of the sponsors who had funded the prizes, the 20-year-old asked to say something in Spanish. Enberg brushed him off saying that there was no time left and promptly continued his way down the list. I'm not really sure how there could have been no time. What if the match had gone on a few games longer?

A few seconds later Del Potro repeated his request. Enberg then launched into an explanation of what Del Potro would do (really, who needed the explanation?) and reluctantly tipped the microphone toward Del Potro, who proceeded to, as far as I could make out, thank his vociferous Argentinian fan-contingent in the stands and tip his hat to Guillermo Vilas.

It was short, very sweet and so heartfelt. Those few moments rounded out a great run at the US Open for an up-and-coming tennis star. I wish Enberg - who has been around the block few times in these situations - had been a bit more magnanimous. Yes, we, the TV audience, get to watch the match courtesy the sponsors, but really the sponsors and the audience are there because of the players. May they please have their moment?

Update: Fixed the spelling of Vilas' name and added a Wikipedia link to Vilas, South America's only other US Open champ.

Update 2 (09/15/09): Link to CBS video of Enberg-Del Potro exchange. Note that they don't have the portion where Del Potro makes his request to address the audience in Spanish. Also note there are ads in the video with (briefly) language that is not office or kid-friendly.

Update 3 (09/16/09): Thanks to BPSK for this video of the relevant portion of the Del Potro-Enberg exchange:

CBS defends Enberg's performance:
“Dick had a number of elements that he had to get through on a very tight schedule,” said LeslieAnne Wade, the senior vice president for communications for CBS. “It was Dick’s job to get through those as quick as he could. And in the end, he did give him the opportunity to make his comments.”


Ugich Konitari said...

I guess the commentators would have bent over backwards had it been Federer. But it is heartwarming to see Del Potro getting his moment in the sun. Kim Clijsters isnt new, but ditto for her.

Between Serena doing her profane threatening and Federer telling of the umpire, I am just glad these two didnt win.

sujata sengupta said...

These tv guys want to hog the limelight all the time..I hat that about them..let the winner have his moment please..we can see you later. Congratulations to Del Potro, I hope his patriotism lasts.

Unknown said...

jus what i was thinking... damn right del potro deserved every minute at the ceremony. glad he could finish what he wanted to say!

Altoid said...

It was one of those grand moments in tennis history. The way he cried was so human and endearing. His speech was heartfelt and touching. Totally agree with what you have to say about Enberg. Sometimes 'them long-timers' can get so inflexible.

All in all, it was an evening well spent :).

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Yep...I noticed that miserly act of Enberg was weird and saddening how he shoved off Del Potro's request the first time...after all, all that Del Potro was asking for was a couple of minutes...despicable really!!

Unknown said...

I thought it was so rude of Enberg to brush him off! It was embarrassing to hear Enberg go on and on about the prize money and Lexus Del Potro had earned, yet he wouldn't allow the poor guy to give his victory speech in Spanish. When Del Portro finally got the mic and thanked his fans and family, he was so emotional ... I nearly cried with him! It was an amazing moment. Shame on Dick Enberg and the money-grubbing sponsorships of the US Open!

jadejohn said...

OK, Juan, let's see what you've got...not sure I'm crazy about him, but maybe he can prove me wrong in this Open...Wow, that is just too awful, what’s wrong with this world. She probably and defiantly had a future and it’s all taken away…

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

I was still cursing myself to have missed such a wonderful match and I see this post ...:(
Thanks for the link ... in office now .. will watch it later.

Bhel Puri & Seekh Kabab said...

Here's the link to the ceremony from youtube:

Right after I watched it, I had the same reaction as you - I couldn't believe what I had just heard.

BENT said...

I totally agree with you. I was ashamed for the commentator. Who if not del Potro should have the right to speek after such a final.
It is very understandable that he wants to say something in his mothertongue, which is the only way for him to feel emotional.
I tried to find a commentary on this embarrassing moment in a german newspaper. I wasn't successfull.

Midlife Roadtripper said...


Glad to see you posting. I did not see/hear of this incident as I was on the road again. That, and my TV only seems to be tuned to football with the men in my house.

Will catch up with you soon.


Dave said...

Congrats to Del Potro for beating Fed at the open. He played huge

Mo said...

I came across this commentary after searching for Del Potro's speech after winning the US open. The odd exchange came to my attention courtesy the Colbert Report showing Del Potro asking to speak in Spanish.

I must agree it came off as very rude. The sponsors that need to be mentioned at the end is overkill since we already see their ads all the time during the game anyways.

I've seen after the Wimbledon finals and other finals as well the players get to speak a little bit. I'm happy Del Potro at least got to say something in the end.