And Belasteguin left the court. He had just won the semifinal of the WPT Alicante Open 2019, and yet, he left the court quickly. Pablo Lima, his teammate, followed. It was awkward to watch. Something was wrong but it was difficult to say what. Was Belasteguin tired? Was he upset? Did he need to go to the toilet? The protocol says that the winners greets the public from inside the court; the looser from the outside. Why did he leave the court? Watch the video below.
Martin di Nenno, who was one of the loosers of the match, published on his facebook account, “… when the match finished we went to congratulate Belasteguin and Lima. He –Belasteguin- asked us to stay in the court and greet the more than 4.000 people that were cheering from the stands… I was going to save this for myself as the “end” of a dreamed weekend but I rather share it so that you see what he did for us and to tell him that I have no words to thank him.”
So, why did Belasteguin take the initiative to leave “the kids” on court. The answer: Belasteguin is big. He is bigger than all of his records and statistics. He has done things like this many times before. He is known for his wisdom and generosity.
So, what happened? You might probably think that he wanted to let the kids get the overwhelming applause that they deserved. It made sense. After all, they had won five matches in a row, starting from the qualifications round. Martin di Nenno (21) is a young upcoming player from Argentina. His teammate, Javi Garrido (18), is one of the most promising young Spaniards.
The Private Story
But there is surely more to this. I bet. It makes sense if you know who Martin di Nenno is.
Have you ever heard of the Superpibes –Superkids- in 2015? Martin di Nenno was one of them. He seemed to be destined, together with Franco Stupaczuk, to rule the future of Padel. He was world champion in every age category possible even playing against players of older age. And then he was not seen in the world scene for nearly three years.
During the warm summer night of the 11th of January 2016, Martin survived a tragic accident in the city of Monte Grande, Argentina. His car crashed against a bus. Two of his best friends died on the spot, including the no.1 Argentine ranked player of that moment in the country, Elias Estrella. Thou he survived, he suffered numerous serious injuries that compromised his sports career, including multiple fractures on both legs and lungs trauma. He went through numerous surgeries. He had to relearn to walk.
For di Nenno, reaching the semi-final of the Alicante WPT represented the completion of his recovery. And Belasteguin knew it. He celebrated with him by sharing his spot light.
Started playing padel in Argentina in 1987. Contributor to the structural development of the sport in Holland since 2006. University lecturer in International Business, specialized in media, sports and entertainment. Senior padel coach, sports journalist, manager and pioneer.