Juan Martin Del Potro has decided to end his 17-year career in tennis after he bowed out of his home tournament at the Argentina Open. He lost to compatriot Federico Delbonis in the opening round 6-1, 6-3.
The former US Open champion was already in tears as the final game unfolded, and he began to grasp the reality that this would be the last one of his career. The 33-year-old was fighting back tears as he was about to serve at 5-3 in the second set. The crowd then rallied behind him and chanted ‘Ole, Ole…Delpo‘, to cheer on the Argentinian.
Del Potro was overcome with emotion given that he was returning to the court after spending nearly two-and-half years on the sidelines due to persistent knee injuries. After losing the first set, he put up a bit more resistance in the second set but couldn’t ultimately make a comeback and cap off his return with a win. After he lost the match Del Potro went to embrace Delbonis and left his headband on the net, signifying an end to his illustrious career.
Juan Martin Del Potro was the first person to win a Grand Slam in an era dominated by the Big Three
Del Potro had numerous achievements during his near two-decade-old career. He won many laurels for Argentina, including the Davis Cup and two Olympic medals. But his career-defining moment came at the 2009 US Open when he defeated five-time defending champion Roger Federer in the finals and ended his dominance at the Flushing Meadows.
In the semi-finals, he defeated Rafael Nadal, and with his victory over Federer, Del Potro became the first player to defeat Federer and Nadal during the same major. He was also the first player to win a Grand Slam during the Big Three era since Marat Safin won the Australian Open back in 2005. He held this record for nearly seven-and-half years until Andy Murray won the 2012 US open.
The former World no.3 couldn’t replicate his success later on as he couldn’t play at the top level again due to injuries and had to undergo multiple wrist and knee surgeries in the past decade. In fact before his match today, he had undergone four surgeries since his last appearance in 2019. Despite all these setbacks he came back to give his fans a chance to see him play for the last time and announce his farewell in front of his home crowd.