Rising Canadian star Gabriel Diallo reveals watching the epic 2012 Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was the moment when he got a strong desire to pursue a pro tennis career. In the 2012 Australian Open final, Djokovic beat Nadal in five sets after five hours and 53 minutes – it is the longest Grand Slam final in tennis history.
After Djokovic outlasted Nadal in an absolute thriller, Diallo bought the Serb’s outfit and started copying the now 22-time Grand Slam champion. “I remember watching Novak vs. Rafa at the 2012 Australian Open over and over again.
I don’t know if I watched it live, but I kept watching the highlights. I was like, ‘That looks so fun’. They were going at each other, a huge crowd, night session, almost six hours. I bought Novak’s outfit and I was playing with his racquet, trying to play like him,” Diallo told the ATP website.
Inspired by Djokovic and Nadal, Diallo became a pro tennis player
After winning an ITF title in June, Diallo also won a Challenger title in August after beating Juncheng Shang in the Granby final. This past week, Diallo made his ATP debut in Dallas after entering the tournament as a lucky loser.
Unfortunately for Diallo, he fell just short of clinching his first ATP main draw win after losing to Emilio Gomez in a tight three-set battle in his Dallas opener. But for Diallo, the highlight of his career remains winning a Challenger title in front of his home fans in Granby.
“I was a wild card in Granby and I just took it match by match. It was so fun to play there because it’s an hour from where I live. My buddies were there, the crowd really embraced me. I was playing free and motivated. It was the best experience of my pro career so far,” Diallo said.