Juan Martin Del Potro’s stellar career has come to an end with a defeat to compatriot Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-3 at the Argentina Open. The Argentinian was playing his first match in two years in an emotional return on tour after being plagued by multiple injuries over the years. But his return was short-lived as he lost to Delbonis in straight sets.
As he began to absorb the situation of what is to come next, the former world No.3 became quite emotional and was fighting back tears while he was serving 3-5 in the second set. It then proved to be the last game of his career as Delbonis won the game to wrap up the match. But the straight-set loss won’t overshadow what has been a tremendous career, to say the least.
Del Potro then came to the net to congratulate his fellow countryman on the win and left his headband on the net, in his own way of saying goodbye to the sport.
“This is my last match”- Del Potro confirms his retirement
Before the match, Del Potro said this tournament is not the last of his career and he will play another tournament in Rio but also hinted that it was ‘more of a goodbye than a comeback’. The 33-year-old decided to hang his boots and bring curtains down to his glorious career in front of his home crowd.
“I will remember this moment for all my life. I fulfilled all the dreams I had in tennis and it brought me all the love of the people, which is my best trophy. This is my last match. I’m happy to have played it in front of my people.” said Del Potro during the on-court interview.
Playing on home soil was a befitting end to his career, after all, playing for Argentina brought out the best in him. He won two medals at the Olympics while playing under the Argentinian flag and led his country to Davis Cup glory in 2016. His biggest career highlight came during the 2009 US Open when he stunned Swiss maestro Roger Federer to win his first Grand Slam title, a defining moment in Argentina’s sporting history. However, he could not hit this height again in his career after multiple injuries forced him to miss years of tennis during his prime.
Nevertheless, one should look at Del Potro’s career as a story of perseverance rather than a career of setbacks that was marred by injuries.