Marius Copil isn’t going away, which is great for tennis.
Copil began to make a name for himself in 2018. His three-hour match with Andy Murray in Washington, D.C., which ended after 3 a.m. local time and left Murray in a state of emotional exhaustion, was impossible to forget for anyone who watched. The textures and combinations in Copil’s game revealed an immensely talented player who had arrived at his late 20s (he was 27 at the time and turned 28 in October) without maximizing his talents.
Copil, after turning 28, reaffirmed how much money he had left on the table over the previous several years when he made the Basel final and pushed Roger Federer hard in a 7-6 (5), 6-4 loss.
Plenty of people in tennis expressed the hope that Copil would stay in the conversation surrounding men’s tennis.
The Romanian has done exactly that.
On Monday, Copil defeated a high-profile player at the Sofia Open in the round of 32. This wasn’t however, just ANY high-profile player. This particular person is the modern-day epitome of what it means to discover and maximize supreme talent relatively late in a career. This person is, for many pros on the ATP Tour, a central source of inspiration and a reminder that it is never too late to unearth and sustain the best tennis of a career.
That Man, of course is Stan — Stan Wawrinka. Copil was two points from defeat in the second-set tiebreaker, but he pulled through that pressure cooker and then fended off the Swiss in the third set, 6-4, to complete a comeback victory.
Murray. Federer. Now Stan. Marvelous Marius Copil continues to show that he can trade punches with heavyweights in ATP Tour competition. No, this does not mean anyone should predict that he will become the next Wawrinka, a 28-year-old who blossoms into a player worthy of the Tennis Hall of Fame.
It does mean, however, that Copil’s hope-filled moments from 2018 are carrying over into 2019, at least to some degree. We will see if Copil can make even more significant statements as this young tennis season develops.