Leonardo Mayer, after leaving tennis: "I was already suffering a lot"

Leonardo Mayer is excited. Has just received an acknowledgment from the hands of Gabriela Sabatini in the central court of the Racket Club of Palermo, in the framework of the semifinals of the Challenger of Buenos Aires. He has also just given the “last” press conference, in his own words. Weeks ago, on October 7, decided to hang the racket and, for that reason, he dedicated himself to enjoying the last sunny tennis Saturday in which the public it gave him the affection of a full stadium.

People adore him because, although his own essence takes him away from the nickname, is considered a hero of the national sport for having integrated that novel quartet in the final instances of 2016, with Juan Martín Del Potro, Federico Delbonis and Guido Pella, who touched the sky with his hands under the leadership of Captain Daniel Orsanic and what was it the largest sports debt in Argentina.

“The truth is that I feel a little calmer, Really. Competition was hard for me and I always say that if you don’t compete well in this sport, you can’t continue. The competition is very strong. Little by little I thought about it, I worked on it, and when I couldn’t anymore I said to myself: ‘I’m not going to suffer anymore, I’m already suffering and I don’t deserve to suffer’. That’s when I started to get away from tennis: I no longer trained, I stayed at home, until one day I decided to say that I was not going to play anymore. I always said that I wanted to do well with tennis because it gave me a lot. I didn’t want to go wrong. That’s why I said enough “, Mayer confessed in an exclusive dialogue with Page 12, in the patio next to the players’ room of the Buenos Aires Challenger.

The Yaca and the plate that she received from Gabriela Sabatini. (Alejandro Leiva)

The moment to make the decision has arrived after losing in the first round of qualifying at Wimbledon before his compatriot Marco Trungelliti. “I turned around and in a moment I thought about playing the Challenger, because it was here, but I really didn’t have the will to train me. He couldn’t play without being fit. I didn’t think too much about it. Little by little you realize that you are not going to play anymore and that retirement is good for you “, expressed the Correntino.

In 18 years of professional trajectory the Yacaré added a total of 376 games at the ATP level (179 wins) and won two titles in Hamburg 2014 and 2017. The journey led him to rank high in June 2015, when it was the 21st in the world. History, however, is written by very few. And the great pages of Argentine tennis revolve around the Davis Cup, whose conquest made him a sports legend of these latitudes. The exhibition, then, was capital. Nobody teaches you how to win Davis.

In mid-2019, when it hovered at 70th place in the world, you started having panic attacks from excessive pressure suffered by tennis players in high professionalism. The cases of Naomi Osaka and Mardy Fish were paradigmatic in that regard. Like most who suffer from this situation, Mayer had a hard time leaving and, therefore, today he feels calmer.

“I think all sports have their pressure, in different measures. It seems important to me that much more work is done on this issue. ANDsport makes you grow very fastWhen someone in their 20s can’t handle the emotional toll of tennis. You are very young and you have no tools to handle that. That’s why there are many complications, “he analyzed, based in City Bell and with head on a family made up of his wife Milagros and their three children -Valentino, 4 years old, and the twins Camilo and Pedro, 9 months old-.

-Are you going to continue linked to sport?

-Now I’m going to start working with tennis to show my experience to the younger players. I want to get involved, get involved, because I am passionate about this sport. It’s nice to help players so they have more tools to get into professionalism.

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– Were you happy playing tennis?

-Yes Yes. It’s like everything, there are bad moments, but I was very happy. Because I retire as a friend of tennisWell with tennis, because it helped me and gave me a lot. I retire this way And, for me, it’s the best way to do it.

-What are you going to miss the most?

-Well … surely the applause of the people and the recognition in each game that one wins. That is something that is not experienced anywhere and it is what I will miss the most.

Brazil, the genesis of the feat

Perhaps the copera lineage of Leonardo Mayer has emerged in the series at Tecnópolis against Brazil, in March 2015, for the first round of the World Group. The tension was overwhelming. That tie not only marked Orsanic’s debut in the chair but it sealed the beginning of a new way of conducting in the Argentine Tennis Association, led by Executive Director Diego Gutiérrez and Third Vice President Daniel Fidalgo, and with the return of Juan Martín Del Potro as part of the team while rehabilitating his left wrist.

With the series 1-2 down, and much more than a sporting result at stake, the Corrientes defeated Joao Souza 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 5-7 and 15-13 in the fourth point, in which it became the longest singles match in the history of the Cup (six hours and 42 minutes), an event that would change the rules of the team competition: there was never a fifth long set again due to the integrity of the players. On Monday Delbonis completed the task.

“My Davis Cup cycle was very nice. It was spectacular. It also brought me a lot of problems and injuries from the match with Souza, which was endless. But I felt very comfortable because I liked adrenaline, the pressure and everything that was lived two weeks before. That’s why I think I was performing and could play better than on the circuit. It was difficult and I always got ahead. It generated me as a very big commitment, “he stressed.

Mayer says that he is retiring from tennis. (Alejandro Leiva)

Glasgow, a castling for history

The 2015 campaign, in which Argentina reached the semifinals, strengthened the sports and leadership legs of a project that, the following year, he would achieve the great goal. With Mayer as the leading actor. Key in Gdansk, in the victory against Poland, and absent due to a man injury against Italy in Pesaro, his great role would come in the semifinals against the reigning champion Great Britain, in Glasgow and with the Murray brothers in the other side.

Del Potro, 64 ° ATP and without physical fullness, decided with the coaching staff to play as singles player two against Andy Murray the first day to be cooler. The tandilense prevailed in a battle of more than five hours and Pella made it 2-0 against Kyle Edmund. Mayer reappeared in the double with Delpo, a game he lost to the Murray duo before Pella succumbed to Andy. 2-2. Fifth point.

Del Potro was fired. The British did not know. Argentina wanted the final match to be played by Daniel Evans and not Edmund. A master move by Sebastián Gutiérrez, technical assistant of the driving duo of Orsanic and Mariano Hood, deceived the locals: he proposed to Del Potro rally on an auxiliary court, well Interclubes style, for the British to believe that he would play. And so it was: Great Britain chose Evans and was surprised by the presence of Mayer, who prevailed in four sets and led the team to a final that, with the victory against Croatia in Zagreb, would seal eternal glory.

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