Former World No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro returned to tennis action for the first time since 2019 when he played the 2022 Argentina Open as a wildcard entrant given his current rank of World No. 753. While it was an emotional return for the local boy, he lost the match to compatriot and 6th seeded Federico Delbonis. Delbonis won the match 6-1, 6-3.
The match against Delbonis was the first instance when del Potro’s mother came into the stadium to watch him live as he had already hinted that he will be returning soon given the recurring knee injury that has kept him away from the tour for more than 2 years now. After losing the match, Juan tied his headband to the net and kissed it as he held back his tears which were already flowing in the final game of the match.
With an initial return planned to play at both the Argentina Open and the upcoming 2022 Rio Open, the 2009 US Open champion was not sure whether he could be playing at the Rio Open. With a defeat that was not a shock to many given del Potro’s long absence, the player talked of his plan to play at the Rio Open.
“Right now I’m not sure if I’m going to Rio. I had the illusion of playing these two tournaments because in Brazil I could experience something like today. Tomorrow I will discuss it with my team. With or without Rio, after it, tennis for me will be a secondary issue,” said del Potro during his press conference as reported by journalist Lorenzo Ercoli.
Juan Martin del Potro’s titles
Juan’s biggest career title came at the 2009 US Open when he defeated Roger Federer in a thrilling 5-set final and ended Federer’s streak of 5 consecutive US Open titles. Federer has since then not won a title in New York. The Argentine reached another final at US Open in 2018 but lost to Novak Djokovic in straight-sets.
The former World No. 3 also has 2 Olympic medals to his name. The Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics defeating Djokovic while he won the Silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics when Andy Murray got the better of him to win his second consecutive singles Gold medal, the only man in history to do so.
His only ATP-1000 Master title came at the 2018 Indian Wells Masters when he got the better of Federer once again in a thrilling nail-biting final. The title in Indian Wells was also the last title he ever won. He won his first career title at the 2008 Stuttgart Open against Richard Gasquet. He won 9 ATP-500 titles and 11 ATP-250 titles throughout his career.