Tennis Prose



Marcelo Rios Salutes Maradona

Marcelo Rios was touched and inspired by a personal visit from Diego Maradona – and the tennis great saluted Argentina’s soccer hero who passed away today at age 60.

In an Instagram post, Rios revealed how he first met the soccer legend, it was after a Davis Cup match vs. Javier Frana in Argentina in February 1995.

Rios, age 19 at the time and ranked 103, was still an unproven young prospect in the ATP. That day he was defeated by the nine years older and 111 ranked Frana in five sets, 36 62 62 46 75.

After the heartbreaking loss, Maradona felt compelled to meet Rios so he entered the locker room of Team Chile. Rios described the encounter: “After the match Maradona came into the locker room and he told me, Kid, someday you are going to eat the world.”

The powerful message obviously meant a lot to the young Rios. After that loss and meeting Maradona that day, Rios would make his mark in pro tennis – he won his first ATP title in May in Bologna, Italy by beating Marcelo Filippini, a win which vaulted Rios into the top 50.

In July Rios won Amsterdam and then Kuala Lumpur in October. By April 1998 Rios would be no. 1 in the world. Maradona’s prophecy had come true…Rios indeed did devour the tennis world.

Now Rios returns the appreciation and admiration for Maradona and the unique impact he had on his life. “He was always nice to me the times I was around him. I don’t care about his personal life. To me, he is the greatest soccer player in history.”

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