Salvadoran tennis player Marcelo Arevalo made history: he was crowned doubles champion at Roland Garros. He also became the first Central American to win a Grand Slam.
Along with his partner Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer, they defeated Croatian Ivan Dodig and American Austin Krajicek.
The match was intense and disputed, which is reflected in the score: 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) and 6-3. The final lasted three hours and was played on court Philippe Chatrier, the main stage of the clay tournament.
The first set was complicated, there were no breaks and all players looked very concentrated. The set was finally decided in tiebreak in favor of Dodig and Krajicek.
The second set was also full of emotions: with their serve at 5-6 of the second set they recovered from three match points down. The Salvadoran and the Dutchman never gave up, despite how complicated the match looked.
In the third and final set, the Arevalo and Rojer duo was unstoppable. Their desire to win and their motivation was more than evident, as they achieved a 6-3 final score. Dodig and Krajicek again missed two break points to take the lead. Arevalo and Rojer managed to break in the sixth game and then sealed the victory.
“In other tournaments, when you come in like that on serve to win a match, your arm tightens up, but that wasn’t the case today. The break at 5-2 gave me a lot of energy, because I served very well and I saw the court very big. And I have trained thousands of hours for moments like this”, explained Arevalo in a press conference.
“I can say that I am very proud of him, because I know how difficult it is to serve to win such a title and he put four very good first serves. It’s the prize for the work done,” added Rojer.
Arevalo and Rojer were very emotional after the victory; they jumped into the stands to hug their families and Arevalo exhibited a Salvadoran flag.
“I always said that one of my dreams as a tennis player was to leave a legacy to Salvadoran children, who live in very difficult conditions and many are not on the right path, so that through sport they can pursue their dreams,” he said.
At the trophy ceremony, a very touched and moved Marcelo Arevalo mentioned: “I feel we are very fortunate to win the title today, I want to thank everyone inside the stadium, it was amazing. You guys made our moment precious. Thank you, Roland Garros and Paris, for this.”
The tennis player traveled to his native El Salvador, where he was received by fans, friends and family. The Roland Garros champion was greeted with flags, banners, applause, loud honks and a chant of “oe oe oe oe Chelo, Chelo.”
Chelo, as he is known by fans and family, was very happy and grateful for the reception and the love of the public. Upon his arrival he spoke with the Salvadorian press and greeted the fans.
Afterwards, he travelled with his family to Sonsonate, where he was awaited by dozens of people.
“It was a dream come true for me, to be crowned in a Grand Slam, which is the greatest thing in tennis, there is nothing greater. Being from Sonsonate and having achieved the title, it is still difficult for me to understand and assimilate,” said Arevalo while he showed a replica of the Roland Garros trophy.