Why Jon Rahm also loves the other US Opens

 

Why Jon Rahm also loves the other US Opens

When I first heard that I would have the opportunity to see Jon Rahm at the US Open tennis tournament, I thought we were kindred spirits.

After all, Rahm is a golfer – just like me – and one of the first rules of life A golfer believes that golf must be your chosen country club sport.

No matter how much you like racquetball, squash or pickleball, these sports can never outweigh your passion for golf. This is doubly true for golf’s long-time arch-rival, tennis. You have to resist the urge to hear the white-clad siren song of the neon green ball and clay course just beyond the first fairway. Because tennis is yin and golf is yang, and to upset that sacred balance would be to unbalance the entire country club universe.

I thought I would find Rahm, in New York for the day as part of his partnership with maestro Dobel Tequila, at Arthur Ashe Stadium, largely indifferent to the proceedings of the court before us. We would praise tennis casually – “Wow, can you believe how hard they hit?” And “My goodness, I could NEVER do that.” – and then we just as quickly turn our attention to the actual topic: golf.

As it turns out, I thought wrong. When I arrived in Forest Hills, I found Rahm waiting to see a round of 16 match between two players I had never heard of. We talked about tennis for a few minutes and it quickly became clear that he had forgotten more about the sport than I ever knew.

Before our interview began, he groaned as he confessed to me that his flight would leave before that night’s primetime game. If he had only looked at the schedule, he told me, he would have stuck around to watch his second-favorite player – Carlos Alcaraz – begin his defense of the US Open title in earnest.

“Obviously. I have to stick up for Carlos,” he said with a grin. “I have to apply for the home court in Spain. It’s incredible what he’s done. My mistake is that I didn’t know much about him until he showed up at the US Open, and now all of a sudden he’s No. 1 in the world.”

Rahm’s love for Carlos begins in her home country. Although they grew up in very different flavors of Spanish culture (Alcaraz is from the central province of Murcia, while Rahm is from the Basque Country to the north), there is a common bond that comes with international sporting fame under the Spanish flag.

“I’m a big Rafa fan, like many others, but he inspired a great generation of people to love tennis in Spain and I think we’ll see the benefits of that when Carlos comes out,” Rahm said . “Every time you break any records, Novak [Djokovic]Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] If you haven’t been able to, you know you’re doing something really special.”

Rahm was embarrassed to admit that he had never met Alcaraz, the 20-year-old sensation whose game was clearly at odds with Rahm’s brutal punches. If the reigning Masters champ is a heavyweight prizefighter; Alcaraz is half Energizer Bunny and half skilled assassin.

Part of this diversity of skills explains Rahm’s love of tennis, which runs deep but has a much less clear explanation.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you why,” he said. “No one in my family has ever set foot on the tennis court, but I have always loved watching…

I respect the sport so much and I admire what they do so much, as I do in other sports, but especially tennis,” Rahm said. “You must be the best athletes out there, right? You have to have agility, speed, cardio, hand-eye coordination, everything.”

Perhaps it also helps, admits Rahm, that two of the best tennis players of the last three decades happen to come from his shared heritage.

“When you get the awards that Djokovic gave Carlos at Wimbledon, it’s even more special, I can’t even put it into words,” Rahm said. “When the three greatest of all time talk about you the way they are, you know you’re special.”

James Colgan is GOLF’s news and features editor and writes stories for the website and magazine. He leads Hot Mic, GOLF’s media arm, leveraging his on-camera experience across all of the brand’s platforms. Before joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University. During that time, he was a fellow caddy (and sharp looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.

https://golf.com/news/jon-rahm-carlos-alcaraz-us-open/ Why Jon Rahm also loves the other US Opens

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