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‘Incredible guts, should’ve been one of Big 5’- Mats Wilander pays STUNNING tribute to Juan Martin del Potro on his retirement

Former World No.1 Mats Wilander paid a tribute to the recently retired Juan Martin del Potro.

Mats Wilander and Juan Martin del Potro

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 Argentine 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.

Mats Wilander pays tribute to Juan Martin del Potro

Juan Martin del Potro

After Juan Martin del Potro’s short-lived comeback against Federico Delbonis at the ATP Argentina Open, the Argentine was supposed to play in the ATP Rio Open, which would have been his farewell tournament. However, he has now effectively retired as it was announced that he would be giving the tournament at Rio a miss.

As the incredible but unfortunate career came to an end, former World No.1 Mats Wilander paid a tribute to Delpo. As an emotional del Potro struggled to fight back his tears after his match against Delbonis, Eurosport pundit Wilander made known his admiration for the former World No.4, revealing that looking at the crowd made him realize that Delpo was more loved by his people than other Argentine Grand Slam winning stars such as Guillermo Vilas and Gabriela Sabatini.

“The first feeling I actually had was how big he is in Argentina and his home country.  having Guillermo Vilas come from there, Gabriela Sabatini, both Grand Slam former champions… Juan Martin del Potro seems to be more loved somehow.” said the Swede.

He also regarded the 33-year-old as a man who made his nation proud, emphasizing how Delpo won the Davis Cup and an Olympics silver for his country alongside his other personal achievements.

“When you look at his resume, you realise that, of course, he won the US Open in 2009, beating [Rafa] Nadal in the semis, [Roger] Federer in the final, it was unbelievable. But then he also won the Davis Cup for Argentina, the only time they won that, and then he was a silver and a bronze medalist in the Olympics. So he was really a man of his country.” added Wilander.

Wilander then went on to praise del Potro’s courage to come back from such an injury and play a full-fledged ATP tournament against a player like Delbonis, who could easily have thrashed him. He then went on to claim that the big Argentine would have been one of the Big 5 had he not been bombarded with injuries.

“I admire the guts that someone like Del Potro has to actually be willing to go onto a proper ATP tournament and play against Federico Delbonis, who easily could beat him 6-1 6-1…Del Potro, really, I mean, he should have been one of them. He would have been. He beat Nadal and Federer in their prime in a Slam and he beat Novak Djokovic in the Olympics in his prime.” added Wilander.

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