In the current state of sports where greed, money and business seem to be more prominent than ever, it was more than a breath of fresh air to see Ryler DeHeart enter Arthur Ashe Stadium Thursday night for his match against the world’s number #1 player and the hottest player currently on tour. DeHeart, 24, who is ranked 261st in the world is currently at the highest of his career ranking. To see his wide-eyed joy when he entered the court of over 23,000 was more than enough to me rallying behind him. He didn’t win, he wasn’t even close, in fact, he was obliterated. Not that it mattered, watching DeHeart gather his composure from his shaky start to recovering from a 0-40 game, then to break Nadal in the following game to gain what was then a 2-0 lead was more than enough to have my eyes water. I can’t imagine what his family and in particularly his fiancee must have felt during what could be DeHeart’s career highlight.
Let’s face it. I’ve became a fan. Whenever his next tournament is within a driving distance from the tristate area, I’ll try my best to attend and hopefully let him know his dedication is more than sports news to me. It’s awe inspiring. If for the slim chance he or anyone who knows him reads this, he deserves this praise.
What gets more even more is how much he loves the game of tennis. Being 24, considered by many as the age when someone’s tennis career begins to tip over, DeHeart has never played a single tour tournament up until the US Open. To my understanding from commentators, DeHeart has been playing in the Futures tour with the goal of being ranked in the 200s for an invitation to play for the Challengers tournament. For someone whose annual earning is less than mine, his determination got him his biggest payday yet- and it couldn’t happen to a better person.