Thirteen years after Marcos Baghdatis parents waved a tearful goodbye to their 14-year-old son with the dream that the boy would one day be good enough to reach a Grand Slam tennis final, Marcos Baghdatis passion and love for tennis has stopped him from waving goodbye to his tennis career despite a poor run of form and results, due to a long time struggles with injuries.
“After a certain time of my career, it was tough with all those injuries, and my body just couldn’t handle the workload anymore”, said Baghdatis who has struggled with injuries for a long term in his career.
In 1999 his parents paid an emotional price, Unable to find the coaching support in Cyprus to nurture Marcos’s talent, His parents sent their son away to Paris in 1999 to live with a French family and train at an Academy. The first three months that Marcos was away, he would ring his parents in tears every night begging to come home. Those calls brought conflict with his parents, His mother urged his father to reconsider his decision, and even Marcos’s coach advised that it might be better to abandon the whole exercise because the boy was unable to cope. But Marcos’s father stood firm, and slowly his son settled down to his new life.
His father haunted by the memory said he would not make that kind of sacrifice again ” I used to tell him to hang on two or three more days just to see what happens, but it was hard. If you ask me if I would do it again, I would tell you no. It was too much of a sacrifice for us, and it was too hard for him. Imagine, you are 14 years old and you are having to train seven hours a day away from home. The only days off were Saturday and Sunday, and then he was so tired that all he could do was sleep…”
But the sacrifices paid off, 2006 was a phenomenal year for the Cypriot professional tennis player, Marcos Baghdatis, he was the runner-up at 2006 Australian Open and a semifinalist at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, he reached a career-high ATP singles ranking of world No. 8 in August 2006. Baghdatis received the 2005 Cyprus Male Athlete of the Year award. On 28 January 2006, he received an exemption from the otherwise mandatory Cypriot national service so that he could concentrate on tennis.
Due to his excellent performance in 2006 many tipped him to be one of the tennis greats, Andre Agassi’s longtime former coach Brad Gilbert said, “When a guy gets to a (Grand Slam) final and semifinal in the same year, you figure he’s going to be a perennial Top-10 player. He hasn’t lived up to that 2006 season. But the talent is there…”
The 33-years old, Marcos Baghdatis whose ranking and form has declined due to an injury-plagued career says retirement is not on his mind ‘yet’ fighting to continue the sacrifices he and his parents made.
Baghdatis who has never won a grand slam title, won just one match at the Dubai Open in February 2019, “Right now, I am trying to enjoy as much as possible and play at this level as much as possible so that I can once again make my way up. Some days are good, some days are not, but the good thing is I am still enjoying playing tennis.”
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