Ever since former World No. 3 and 2009 US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro has announced his intention to retire from the game, tributes have poured in for the Argentine great from players of all generations. The Argentine who has not played a match since 2019 is set to return to action this week at the 2022 Argentina Open which could well be his last tournament.
Joining the list of people showing their admiration for del Potro is current World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas who also shared his memories of watching the former US Open champion play when the Greek was growing up. With del Potro 10 years senior to Stefanos, the Greek youngster is sure to have seen Juan playing in his prime and blasting his famous forehand on the court.
“It’s a tragic situation, and I must admit that I am surprised by the energy and passion he has put in to continue to be able to play. He was always a player that I looked up to and really enjoyed watching him. I learned a lot from his game,” said Stefanos as reported by welovetennis.fr, showing respect to del Potro who broke down in tears announcing his thoughts on retirement.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Juan Martin del Potro played once on the Tour
With Stefanos just coming on to the scene, the then 19-year old Tsitsipas came up against del Potro in the 2nd round of the 2018 Rome Masters where Stefanos entered the main-draw as a qualifier while del Potro was the 5th seed at the tournament. The match ended in del Potro’s favour who won it 7-5, 6-3 to advance into the next round where he had to retire due to a mid-match injury while Stefanos got the opportunity to play with his idol.
While del Potro is yet to announce his withdrawal from the 2022 Rio Open that is scheduled for next week, there is still a chance that we might get to see the great player one more time. Juan will take on Federico Delbonis in the first round of the Argentina Open, while Tsitsipas will take on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the first round of the 2022 Rotterdam Open with both matches scheduled on 8th February.