Tennis Prose



Cristian Rodriguez Makes Grand Slam Debut At 32

By Scoop Malinowski

I first saw Cristian Rodriguez playing at Sarasota Open Challenger this year. He was giving Christian Harrison some trouble in the first round of qualies. They were playing on center court before a sparse crowd and in the second set tiebreaker Rodriguez battled to 7-7 before losing the final two points.

The 32 year old from Dominican Republic hit the ball hard on even terms with Harrison, maybe even a fraction better at times but he cracked at the end, perhaps due to the ATP experience advantage Harrison has over him.

Rodriguez looked like a regular guy park player on the external, actually he physically resembles a 4.0 Colombian guy named Victor at our tennis center here in New Jersey. But when the action starts, Rodriguez has the arsenal and athleticism to compete with most ATP players.

Rodriguez got lucky this week at Wimbledon because Kyrgios and Kokkinakis decided to withdraw from doubles, presumably because Nick is feeling up to the challenge of threatening for the Gentleman’s Singles title and wants to conserve all his energies for that endeavor.

So Rodriguez, ranked 393 in singles and 93 in doubles, got into the doubles draw with his partner Diego Hidalgo, a 29 year old doubles journeyman from Ecuador (ranked 700 something in singles and 90 something in doubles). Rodriguez has won one ATP match in his life and $142,425 total. “Rodridalgo” are currently on court playing Aljaz Bedene and Soonwoo Kwon.

Rodriguez has a 12-19 match record this year in Challenger singles, but 41-13 in doubles including five Challenger doubles titles in Concepcion, Chile; Santa Cruz, Boliva; Santiago, Chile; Pereira, Colombia; and Salvador De Bahia, Brazil.

But matches are not won on paper or by past results. Things can change in the tennis world very quickly and unexpectedly. Rodriguez and Hidalgo have been waiting for this moment their entire lives. This fortunate duo from South America doing some damage, or perhaps more than that, in the Gentleman’s Doubles draw would be one of the most inspiring tennis Rocky Balboa achievements in recent history.

And as we all saw at the US Open last year, anything, absolutely anything is possible.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · July 1, 2022 at 9:31 am

    Incredibly the team of Rodriguez and Hidalgo won 76 76 63 over two veteran ATP players. Fantastic win. Sock also into fourth round by beating Cressy, Tiafoe looks likely headed to fourth round also.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 2, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    Rodgriguez Hidalgo lost a marathon five setter today to Albot Basilashvili. But they proved they belong in Grand SLams. Hope they continue to rise up the rankings.



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