ibnlive » Tennis

Sep 18, 2009 at 12:13am IST

Del Potro, a protege of small Argentine club

Tennis sensation and US Open champion Del Potro's journey to a grand slam title has all the makings of a fairytale.

Infact, the tiny town of Tandil in Argentina where he comes from is celebrating their home grown hero, the boy wonder who put their obscure town on the world map.

Tandil is a small and picturesque rural town in Argentina - with a population of 110,000. Yet, it is a 20-year-old boy from this obscure town who is today on top of the tennis world.

DISCOVERY: As a five-year-old Potro's talent was discovered as he began hitting ball against club's wall.

Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Roger Federer to win the US Open Men's singles crown.

The road that led to the US Open victory began at a small centre created to hone tennis talent.

The Club Independiente is proud of its protege.

"The kids worked and were raised in a tennis school. I think that makes the difference. Afterward, I don't know, the innate conditions of each allowed them to get to where they got," said coach Patricia Martignoni,

While waiting for football training to begin, a five-year-old Del Potro picked up a racket to while away time. He began hitting a ball against the club's wall and then there was no looking back.

The Vice-President of the club, Osvaldo Dadiego said, "Of course the great players arise afterward. Some times they have great success and sometimes they don't. But this surely has to do with the work they put into it. Like that of Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Monaco, Machi, Junqueira, and before that Perez Roldan, Patricia Taravini and so many others. It is because they followed a regimen of hard work."

Apart from Del Potro, the club has produced no less than five pros. The club plans to continue honing champions to win grand slam titles.