Just as his seven-year-old son was there by his side when he defeated semifinalist Marco Cecchinato at the 2019 French Open last month in Paris, France, so again was retiring tennis legend Nicolas Mahut’s son there by his side when he suffered a devastating four-set defeat last Friday.
“When Nicolas Mahut was eliminated from the third round of the tournament last week, he was visibly emotional. A top doubles player, the 37-year-old Frenchman had suggested this would be his last time playing singles at the tournament,” the Today show reported on Thursday.
“But that’s when Mahut’s young son ran onto the court to offer his dad a big, comforting hug. The boy’s sweet embrace prompted everyone to get a bit misty-eyed.”
See the other player in the video above? That was Mahut’s opponent, Argentinian tennis player Leonardo Mayer, 32. He looked pretty emotional himself, didn’t he?
See social media’s reaction to the hug below:
You maybe already saw this.
Tennis player Mahut losing at Roland Garros in front of his family, breaks down in tears.
His kid runs on court to hug him.
His opponent Mayer getting emotional.
Father and son walk away hand in hand.
Losing, winning, living.pic.twitter.com/YOE3ohKVGJ
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 4, 2019
So sweet and emotional to see a son having the opportunity of holding his dad’s hand in the dad’s time of need!
— islolly (@islolly) June 5, 2019
This is what kids can do with their unconditional, unrestrained love. Pick us up and remind we are loved even when we fall short.#realwinning
— Eric (@rederic1989) June 5, 2019
It took me so long to realise where the really important people in your life are. They are the ones in your ❤️. This is must watch stuff competitors & warriors on field of battle but real peopld under the surface is the most important thing of all ?
— Darren Berry (@ChuckBerry1969) June 5, 2019
Incredible….. That’s true sportsmanship on everybody in that Arena…. That’s Pathos, Happiness and literal sincerity in one emotion….. #ThePowerOfSport
— Les Clarke (@les_saintlbc) June 5, 2019
Having been a lower level pro tennis player. I would’ve loved to have had my child run to me after a tough loss. Would’ve made the world instantly alright. It’s tough out there, all alone, and it hurts to lose.
— Richie P. ?? (@RealRichieP) June 5, 2019
Mahut’s son, Nathaniel, has, it would appear, always been by his father’s side, or at least since he was born on Aug. 18, 2011.
“After he failed to qualify for the U.S. Open last year, the Frenchman’s son rushed to his dad’s side to give him a big bear hug,” Today noted.
Conversely, when Mahut and fellow French tennis player Pierre-Hugues Herbert won the men’s doubles title last summer, his son rushed out not to console him but rather to dance with him.
“No one was more happy for Mahut than his young son, who joined him in the celebration. Six-year-old Natanel even broke out in dance with the champions,” Tennis.com reported at the time.
There was celebration as well last month when Mahut defeated Cecchinato.
“The world No. 253-ranked home favorite came back from two sets down to eliminate defending semifinalist Marco Cecchinato, 2-6, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in front of a thrilled crowd on Sunday. A year after stunning Novak Djokovic in Paris, the No. 16-seeded Italian became the second seeded casualty, following No. 5 Angelique Kerber,” Tennis.com noted.
“It was an emotional win for the 37-year-old Mahut in many ways: he played on the new Court Simonne Mathieu, battled back from the brink against a proven clay-court player, took in a standing ovation with his son Natanel, and gained personal gratification after needing a wild card to get in.”
VIVRE LA FRANCE. Nicolas Mahut comes back from two sets down to beat the 2018 French Open semi finalist Marco Cecchinato in five sets.
— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) May 26, 2019
According to People magazine, Mahut began his career in professional tennis in 2010 and is best known for “playing in an historical match against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010. The record-breaking match clocked in at a total of 11 hours and five minutes and was played over three days.”
Though he lost that match, it cemented his place in tennis history to the point that the match has its own Wikipedia page!
“Both players broke numerous Wimbledon and tennis records, including each serving over 100 aces, with the match being referred to as ‘the endless match’. A rule change instigated for the 2019 Championships introducing a tie break in the fifth set means that the Isner-Mahut match will remain the longest match in Wimbledon tournament history, provided this change remains in place,” the page notes.
If you have some free time on your hand, you may watch the first round of the famous battle below. Keep in mind that the round lasted 25 minutes!
Here are some other interesting facts about Mahut, courtesy the ATP Tour, a worldwide to-tier tennis tour organized by the Association of Tennis Professionals:
He started playing tennis at the age of 5.
His mother passed away in March of 2005.
Growing up he admired legendary tennis player Pete Sampras, former professional French tennis player Yannick Noah and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
And remember the Isner-Mahut match mentioned earlier? He wrote a book about it.
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