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In "Maradona's house," Sebastian Baez pays tribute to Argentina great after Naples win
The Buenos Aires native snapped an 11-match losing streak and celebrated by donning the legendary Napoli player’s classic Argentina shirt.
Published Oct 19, 2022
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For most people, the city of Naples is synonymous with its most famous export: pizza. The birthplace of Margherita pizza is renowned for its good food and stunning views of Mount Vesuvius.
But for Argentine people, Naples—make that Napoli—means only one thing: this is Diego Maradona’s house. The late soccer legend became a national hero during his time at S.S.C Napoli, where he racked up goal scoring records and accolades along with a World Cup trophy.
Sebastian Baez grew up idolizing Maradona, and during his trip to the ATP 250 Tennis Napoli Cup the world No. 37 skipped the food and the views—and went straight for the Maradona tributes.
“I’ve seen the city, all the walls [and murals] for Maradona,” Baez said during his on-court interview. “I have a t-shirt, I have a soccer ball, I have everything.
“I’m happy to continue in this tournament, and to stay in Maradona’s house for a little longer.”
The Buenos Aires native took his own tribute to the tennis court—where Baez snapped an 11-match losing streak in spectacular style at the Napoli Cup on Wednesday. After edging past Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 7-6(3) in the first round, Baez donned Maradona’s signature 1986 World Cup winning jersey in celebration.
“He’s the best in history for me. He’s my idol, he’s everything,” Baez said. “It’s something special to be here, in this place…
“I’m just trying to enjoy this moment, because it’s so special.”
Baez, the No. 6 seed, advanced to the second round, but he’ll have to wait to find out his next opponent amid a week of scheduling woes and court quality issues in Naples.
Main draw play was delayed until Tuesday as organizers scrambled to replace the cracking center court surface—only for play to be abandoned early two days in a row as sea air from nearby Gulf of Naples made the court too waterlogged to continue playing into the evening.
Baez awaits the winner of Marton Fucsovics and Zhang Zhizhen, while top seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and Matteo Berrettini have yet to play.