Portuguese tennis is in luck thanks to Joao Sousa, friend of Rafael Nadal and followed by coach Jose Mourinho, and the first representative of this country, man or woman, who is fighting to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, precisely this Monday with the Balearic player, twice Wimbledon champion.
After eliminating on Saturday Daniel Evans, the last of the six British who started the frame (4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6 and 6-4), on Track One and with Mourinho in the stands As a witness, Sousa was happy and proud.
"Now I think it's time to rest and enjoy this victory, because it has been very hard out there," he said. "Rafa is a great player and there are no words to describe him. I'm sure I'll have the crowd against me, "said Sousa, who already caused surprise by defeating Croatian Marin Cilic in the second round, and marking his 50th victory in the Grand Slam.
Represented in his time by Jorge Mendes, representative of Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others, and trained by Francis Roig, Nadal's technician, years ago at the BBT academy in Barcelona, when the Portuguese arrived there at the age of 15, Souza felt proud of his country after the success this year at Wimbledon.
"I have made history for my country and I am proud to be part of that history. We are a small country but I am very proud to be part of this small country, "he said.
"I hope I can play at a good level, because I will try to do my best to win", commented about Nadal with whom he has lost on the two occasions he has faced, and whose school in Manacor has traveled on countless occasions to train.
"It was an incredible match. The audience was also incredible, I have never played before such fans. Playing on the Track One of Wimbledon is a dream come true, and winning and being in the second round is something fabulous, "he added.
Nadal and Sousa are two of the nine players with 30 years or more who have reached the eighth this year, a round that will go down in history because there have been concentrated the longest since the Open Era in a Grand Slam, as happened almost four weeks ago at Roland Garros.
The duel against the Spanish comes to Souza in his sixth consecutive participation in Wimbledon and the 27 in a big one, when Nadal has just scored his 51st victory in this tournament, equaling with the Swedish Bjorn Borg, and achieving the 35 this season, the same than Federer, surpassing both in one the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal looks for his 39 quarters in the Grand Slam and the seventh in Wimbledon. Souza, continue making history for his country after having also achieved the eighth in the US Open in 2018, losing in that round with the Serbian Novak Djokovic.
In the Grand Slam, the Portuguese has never won a player located in the top five. He has lost all eight matches against the players in that group.
Before his victory against Cilic, 18 of the world, his most important triumph in a Grand Slam had been against Pablo Carreño, then 12 of the world, when the Spaniard retired due to a left thigh injury (4-6, 6 -3, 5-7, 6-2, 2-0) in the second round of the US Open last year.
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