In what has probably been the last match for Juan Martin del Potro, the Argentine would be going out with a defeat in his final match as his compatriot Federico Delbonis got the better of him in the first round of the 2022 Argentina Open. Delbonis won the match 6-1, 6-3 in del Potro’s first match since 2019.
del Potro had already announced that this could well be his last tournament prior to the match and it was a full house at the Court Guillermo Vilas where the two Argentine’s clashed. Juan’s mother was in attendance for the first time since he turned Pro in 2005. In a career that is more than 17 seasons long, this was the first time Juan’s mother attended his match well knowing it could possibly be his last match.
The former World No. 3 was serving with the second set at 3-5 and broke down in tears well knowing it could be the last time he was serving in a match on the Tour. As the crowd cheered on for him, they were critical of Delbonis booing and whistling him for using drop shots which seemed unnecessary given his opponent’s known fitness issues and many felt it could have been avoided by Delbonis.
As the match ended in Federico’s favour, the limelight was indeed on del Potro, who kissed the net after tying his famous hairband on the net and then hugged his mother as he left the court holding his tears back as the crowd gave him a rousing reception. Delbonis however had picked up a bone with the crowd and he addressed it during his press conference as well.
“I don’t take anything personal about the crowd. If I had been in the stands, I would have also encouraged Juan Martin. I was bothered by some rude people trying to turn this place into a soccer field. The protagonist will always be Juan Martín for everything he has done in tennis.
“Sometimes I would have liked to be in the stands and sing, but I was also in a privileged position on the court. The most important thing in the match was this hug at the net,” said Delbonis during his press conference when asked about the contrasting reception he received as compared to his compatriot on the other side of the net.
Juan Martin del Potro unsure of his participation at the Rio Open
The 2009 US Open champion had received a wildcard in both the Argentina Open and the upcoming Rio Open that starts next week. However, given the deteriorating knee condition that had forced him off the Tour for more than 2 years now, the Argentine remains doubtful if he will make the trip to Rio.
With a week to assess his condition, del Potro make the decision after taking the advice of his medical team and then decide if he will be playing his final tournament in Brazil next week.