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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday December 15, 2019

It was a decade of wonder for tennis fans all around the world. And whether you care to admit it or not—it was a decade of tears. There were tears of joy and tears of sorrow, tears of elation and tears of devastation; there were tears at the Grand Slams, tears at the Davis Cup, tears at the Fed Cup and tears pretty much everywhere there was professional tennis of any kind, emotions were overflowing and spine-tingling performances were taking place.

More Best of Decade: Top 10 Pivotal Moments

With that said, we’ve gone and made an attempt at the unthinkable: picking the top 10 tennis tearjerkers of the decade that was. It was not easy and you may not agree with our panel’s selections, but we’ve given it the old college try nevertheless.

Without any further ado, here’s what we came up with. Grab your Kleenex and enjoy…

1. Del Potro and Djokovic 2016 Olympics

“No doubt this is one of the toughest losses in my life and in my career,” Novak Djokovic said after falling to Juan Martin del Potro at the 2016 Olympics and walking off the court in tears. Meanwhile, Del Potro was just at the beginning of a comeback from wrist surgery –he had started outside the Top 1000 in February of that very same year. The emotions, sportsmanship and mutual admiration of both men in Rio made this match transcend tennis and brought us all to a deeper understanding of what the tennis is really about. Yes, it’s about wins and losses and pride, but as Djokovic and Del Potro showed so clearly in Rio it’s also about soul, about camaraderie and about compassion.

2. Andy Murray Delivers Brilliant Wimbledon runner-up speech

A heartbroken Andy Murray was reduced to tears after losing his fourth consecutive Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2012. He could certainly be forgiven for showing the bitter disappointment of having come so close at the Grand Slams so many times with nothing to show for it. But Murray shook off all bitterness and showed his class and humanity when he delivered a runner-up speech for the ages that praised Roger Federer and brought the Centre Court crowd to tears.

3. Djokovic Applauded in Paris after Heartbreaking Loss

Once again Novak Djokovic was denied a maiden Roland Garros title in 2015, even after defeating Rafael Nadal in Paris. But after this crushing loss in the final to Stan Wawrinka the fans let him know how much they appreciated his efforts with a standing ovation that lasted over a minute and brought everyone in Chatrier—and watching on television—to tears. It was the magic of that moment that enabled Djokovic to return with full vigor in 2016 anf finally take home the title in Paris.

4. Simona Halep Wins Roland Garros

Finally! Simona Halep rallied from a set and break down to claim her first major title in Paris in 2018 and by doing so she erased the heartbreak of her devastating loss to Jelena Ostapenko in the previous year—Halep’s special moment was one of the most moving moments of the decade because of the purity of her emotions and the way she embraced the moment.

5. Herbert and Mahut Celebrate Roland Garros title

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut locked up the Roland Garros men’s doubles title in 2018 and then made millions melt when Mahut’s son Natanel rushed the court and created the viral tearjerker of the 2018 French Open. The Frenchman were the third all-French duo to win the title but the first but it was the celebration that made it feel like the first of its kind. What a moment!

6. Del Potro Consoles Almagro

Nicolas Almagro was suffering badly with a knee injury at Roland Garros in 2017, but he was not alone. As the situation weighed on Almagro and the Spaniard fell to the court and broke out sobbing, he was consoled by Juan Martin del Potro, a man who knows a thing or two—or three or four—about injuries. What ensued was one of the warmest and touching moments of that season. An unforgettable touch of class and sportsmanship by Del Potro, and a singular, touching moment.

7. Petra Kvitova Returns to Tennis

When one of the most beloved players in tennis made her courageous return to the sport after a harrowing stabbing incident with a burglar that resulted in a gory hand injury and could have been far worse, you better believe there were endless tears. This is what tennis fans experienced at Roland Garros in 2017 when Petra Kvitova made her triumphant return to professional tennis. It was a tremendous, uplifting moment produced by a courageous player, and one that exemplified the strength of Kvitova’s love for tennis and her desire to reclaim the passion that was rightfully hers.

8. Federer remembers Peter Carter

There were so many emotional moments provided by Roger Federer in the last decade, but this gripping interview with CNN was the one that hit us the hardest. Federer breaks down in tears when discussing his former coach Peter Carter in a beautiful, dignified moment that shows the humanity of the Swiss megastar and reminded us all to recognize Carter’s contribution to the career of the legendary Swiss. It takes a village to make a miracle Peter Carter played his role in Federer’s success admirably.

9. Nadal and Marc Lopez win Gold at Rio

Rafael Nadal has had a lot of emotional moments in the last decade—too many to even recall—but it is this moment, shared with friend and doubles partner Marc Lopez, that really got the tears flowing more than any other. Nadal locked earned his second career Olympic Gold Medal but this was about Lopez and about Spain more than it was about Nadal.

10. Monica Puig Shocks the World at Olympics

Speaking of tears at the Olympics, how about we finish up this segment with a look back at one of the most shocking title runs of the decade. Monica Puig’s run to Olympic Gold at Rio. Puig became the first Olympic gold medalist from Puerto Rico and the first woman from Puerto Rico to ever win an Olympic medal. On our tearjerker scale from 1 to 10, this one most certainly went to 11.


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