When Roberto Bautista defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime to hand Spain their first point against Canada in the final of the 2019 Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals, he pointed to the sky. It was a symbolic gesture as only a few days earlier his father had passed away. Bautista’s mental strength and commitment was something which transcended the 2019 Finals.
As the national anthems rang out and the Spain and Argentina players prepared for their quarter-final showdown, there was one glaring omission from the ranks of the Spanish outfit.
Roberto Bautista Agut was not with the rest of his teammates as he had been forced to leave the Spanish camp on the Wednesday due to the deteriorating health of his father, whose death was sadly confirmed on the day of Spain’s last-eight contest.
Spain overcame Argentina to set up a semi-final clash with Great Britain and Bautista Agut was back on the Spanish bench after undertaking the four-hour drive from Castellon and his father’s funeral. A day later, he would realise his dream of becoming a Davis Cup champion.
It could almost be a script for a film, but this was real and the story of Bautista Agut and the 2019 Finals will always be told alongside that detailing Spain’s sixth tournament triumph and first since 2011.
An emotional Rafael Nadal rushed to embrace Bautista Agut as he defeated Denis Shapovalov in what proved to be the title-clinching match. That embrace closed an emotional week which had adopted a backdrop of personal grief and overcoming significant odds in order to succeed.