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Template:Infobox tennis biography Template:MedalTop Template:MedalCountry Template:MedalSport Template:MedalBronze Template:MedalBottom Template:Stack end Juan Martín del Potro (Template:IPA-es) (born 23 September 1988), often nicknamed Delpo, is an Argentine professional tennis player who is the current highest-ranked Argentine and the eighth-ranked player in the world.[1] Del Potro achieved a top-10 ranking by the Association of Tennis Professionals for the first time on October 6, 2008. In January 2010, he reached a career-high ranking of World No. 4. Soon after attaining this ranking, del Potro had to withdraw from most of the tournaments in 2010 due to a wrist injury.[2]

Having started playing tennis at the age of seven,[3] del Potro won his first senior match in 2004 at the age of 15. In 2008, he became the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments.[4] He also completed the second-longest winning streak in 2008, and the second longest by a teenager in the Open Era, behind Rafael Nadal—with his winning sequence spanning 23 matches over five tournaments.[4] Del Potro captured his first Grand Slam title at the 2009 US Open, defeating Nadal in the semifinal and Roger Federer in the final—the first man to defeat them both in the same Grand Slam tournament. Del Potro is the only player outside of the "Big Four" - Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray - to have won a men's grand slam singles title since 2005. He became the second Argentine and the fifth-youngest man to win the US Open title in the Open Era.[5] Del Potro also won the bronze medal in men's singles at the London Olympics in 2012.

Early lifeEdit

Juan Martín del Potro was born in Tandil, Argentina. His father, Daniel del Potro, played semi-professional rugby union in Argentina and is a veterinarian.[3][6] His mother, Patricia, is a teacher and he has a younger sister named Julieta. Del Potro speaks Spanish, English and some Italian.[7] Aside from tennis, he enjoys playing football and supports the Boca Juniors team in Argentina and Juventus in Italy.[7] He would often dedicate time to both sports during his childhood, and Argentinian-Italian international footballer Mauro Camoranesi remains a close friend of del Potro.[3]

Del Potro began playing tennis at the age of seven with coach Marcelo Gómez (who also coached Tandil-born players Juan Mónaco, Mariano Zabaleta and Máximo González).[3] Del Potro's talent was discovered by Italian ex-tennis professional Ugo Colombini, who accompanied him through the initial phases of his young career, and is still today his agent and close friend.[8] When questioned about his ambitions in tennis he replied, "I dream of winning a Grand Slam and the Davis Cup."[9]

Tennis careerEdit

2002–2005Edit

As a junior in 2002, del Potro won the Orange Bowl 14s title, beating Marin Čilić en route to a 6–2, 7–6(5) victory over Pavel Tchekov in the final.[10] In 2003, at the age of 14, del Potro received wild cards to three ITF Circuit events in Argentina, where he lost in straight sets in the first round of each.[11]

In May 2004, del Potro won his first senior match, at the age of 15, at the ITF Circuit event in Buenos Aires by defeating Matias Niemiz. He then went on to lose in three sets to Sebastián Decoud in the second round. His next victory came over five months later against the Chilean Alvaro Loyola in a tournament in Antofagasta. Later that year, del Potro reached the quarterfinals of the ITF Circuit event in Campinas, Brazil; recording victories over Henrique Mello and Alessandro Camarco. Del Potro won two more matches before the end of the year and saw his world ranking rise from no. 1441 in August to no. 1077 in November.[12] He also reached the finals in the Argentina Cup and Campionati Internazionali D'Italia Junior tournaments.[13]

Del Potro reached his first final of the ITF Junior Circuit on 11 January 2005, the Copa del Cafe (Coffee Bowl) - Junior ITF Tournament in Costa Rica, which he lost to Robin Haase in three sets. He was involved in a dispute with the umpire during this match, who decided to stop the play because of rain, which del Potro believed favoured Haase. Because of the rain delays, the final set had to be played indoors; this was the first time the indoor courts had been used in the 44-year history of the youth tournament.[14]

At the age of 16, del Potro reached his first senior singles final at the Futures tournament in Berimbau Naucalpan, Mexico, where he lost to Darko Madjarovski 6–3, 4–6, 4–6. He then went on to win consecutive titles at two Future ITF Circuit events in Santiago, Chile, including the 26th International Junior tournament. In the first tournament, he beat Jorge Aguilar, 6–4, 7–6(6), and in the second, he did not drop a set in the whole tournament and defeated Thiago Alves, 6–1, 6–1, in the final, a player ranked more than 400 places higher at the time. He won his third title in his home country by defeating Damian Patriarca, who forfeited the match, at the ITF Circuit event in Buenos Aires.[15]

Del Potro turned professional after the Italy F17 event in Bassano, and in his first professional tournament, the Lines Trophy in Reggio Emilia, he reached the semifinals, where he lost to countryman Martín Vassallo Argüello in three sets. Two tournaments later, he reached the final of the Credicard Citi MasterCard Tennis Cup in Campos do Jordão, Brazil, where he lost to André Sá, 4–6, 4–6. After turning 17, he won the Montevideo Challenger by defeating Boris Pašanski in the final in three sets.[15] That same year, he failed in his first attempt to qualify for his first Grand Slam, at the US Open, losing in the first round to Paraguayan Ramón Delgado.[16] Throughout 2005, del Potro jumped over 900 positions to finish with a world ranking of no. 158, largely due to winning three Futures tournaments.[15][17] He was the youngest player to finish in the year-end top 200.[18]

2006Edit

In February, del Potro played his first ATP tour event in Viña del Mar, where he defeated Albert Portas, before losing to Fernando González in the second round.[19] Later, seeded seventh, he won the Copa Club Campestre de Aguascalientes by defeating the likes of Dick Norman and Thiago Alves, before beating Sergio Roitman, 3–6, 6–4, 6–3, in the final.[20][21]

Del Potro qualified for the main draw of his first Grand Slam in the 2006 French Open at the age of 17. He lost in the opening round to former French Open champion and 24th seed Juan Carlos Ferrero.[21][22] Having received a wild card, he reached the quarterfinals of the ATP event in Umag, Croatia, where he lost in three sets to the eventual champion, Stanislas Wawrinka.[23] In Spain, he participated in the Open Castilla y León Challenger tournament held in Segovia, defeating top seed Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals and Benjamin Becker in the final.[21][24]

Del Potro qualified for his first US Open in 2006, after being seeded ninth in the qualifying stages, where he beat Brian Vahaly, Wayne Arthurs, and Daniel Köllerer in straight sets.[25] In the US Open, he lost in the first round to fellow qualifier Alejandro Falla of Colombia in four sets.[26] He went on to qualify for his first ATP Masters Series tournament in Spain, the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, where he lost 4–6, 4–6 in the first round to Joachim Johansson.[21] After receiving a wild card thanks to Roger Federer, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland; defeating lucky loser Tobias Clemens in the first round and George Bastl in the second round, before losing to the eventual runner-up Fernando González, 7–5, 4–6, 4–6.[27] Del Potro finished 2006 as the youngest player in the top 100 at 18 years, 2 months.[7]

2007Edit

File:Juan Del Potro 2007 Australian Open (4).jpg

Del Potro began the year by reaching his first semifinal in ATP Adelaide, Australia, where he lost to Chris Guccione, 7–5, 3–6, 5–7, having beaten Igor Kunitsyn, 6–2, 6–0, earlier in the day.[28][29] He then reached the second round of the Australian Open, where he had to retire because of injury in his match against eventual finalist Fernando González in the fifth set, with the score being 6–7(7), 6–4, 7–6(3), 4–6, 0–4 at the time of his retirement.[9][29] In February, del Potro played for Argentina in the first round of the Davis Cup against Austria, winning the fourth and definite match against Jürgen Melzer, 7–6(4), 3–6, 6–4, 4–6, 6–2, allowing Argentina to qualify for the quarterfinals.[30]

Del Potro defeated Feliciano López, 6–1, 6–2, before losing to eventual semifinalist Mardy Fish, 1–6, 6–7(9), in the second round of the indoor Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.[31] In his next ATP Masters event, he reached the second round of the Pacific Life Open, beating Gustavo Kuerten in the first round, but then losing to Richard Gasquet by a similar margin, 6–7(2), 2–6.[32] Del Potro went further in the Sony Ericsson Open, reaching the fourth round after he defeated three top-50 players: Jonas Björkman, Marcos Baghdatis, and Mikhail Youzhny, before falling to Rafael Nadal, 0–6, 4–6.[33] In May, he lost in the first round of the French Open to eventual champion, Nadal 5–7, 3–6, 2–6.[29][34]

In his first grass-court event, del Potro beat Thomas Johansson in two sets and reached the second round at the Queen's Club, where he lost to Nadal.[29][35] He also reached the quarterfinals in Nottingham the following week; there he beat British qualifier Jamie Baker and Kunitsyn in the first two rounds, but lost to Ivo Karlović, 6–7(10), 5–7, at the quarterfinal stage.[36][37] At his inaugural Wimbledon Championships, he defeated Davide Sanguinetti, 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, 6–4, in the first round, before losing, 2–6, 5–7, 1–6, to eventual champion Roger Federer in the second round, after a rain delay in the third set.[38][39]

Del Potro lost to Frank Dancevic in three sets in the second round of the singles at the ATP event in Indianapolis.[40] At the same event, partnered with Travis Parrott in doubles, he won his first doubles tournament, defeating Teymuraz Gabashvili and Karlović, 2–6, 6–2, 10–6, in the final.[41] He regards this as a special victory, "It was fantastic to play doubles with Parrott. I'm so happy because I've never won a doubles tournament. For the rest of my life, I will remember this tournament."[42] Del Potro qualified for the ATP Masters Series event in Cincinnati, where he reached the third round. He defeated countryman Guillermo Cañas in the first round and Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second, before losing, 5–7, 6–3, 5–7, to former world no. 1 Carlos Moyá.[43][44][45] At that year's US Open, he defeated Nicolas Mahut, 6–0, 6–4, 6–2, and Melzer, 6–3, 6–1, 6–4, before losing to eventual finalist and third seed Novak Djokovic, 1–6, 3–6, 4–6, in the third round.[29][46] He also reached the third round of the Madrid Masters by beating Potito Starace, 7–5, 6–1, and Tommy Robredo, 6–7(4), 6–4, 6–3, before losing to eventual champion David Nalbandian in straight sets.[47] In the last tournament of the year, the Paris Masters, he reached the second round, where he lost to Nikolay Davydenko, 6–7(3), 1–6.[29] That year, del Potro was the youngest player to finish in the year-end top 50 at 19 years, 2 months.[7]

2008Edit

File:Juan Martin del Potro at the 2008 Legg Mason Tennis Classic.jpg
Del Potro's first half of the season was hampered by injuries and a change of coach, starting with a first-round loss in Adelaide, where he was the seventh seed.[48][49] He then made it to the second round of the Australian Open in January, only to retire against David Ferrer due to an injury when the score was, 3–6, 4–6.[50] Del Potro returned to the circuit in March, winning his first match against Jesse Levine, 7–5, 6–1, at the Sony Ericsson Open, before losing 4–6, 2–6, in the second round to López.[51] Struggling with injuries, his ranking fell as low as no. 81 in April. "At the start of the year, I was playing good, but I had many injuries, many problems with my body, with my physique," said del Potro. "I changed my coach, changed my physical trainer, I changed everything."[52]

In May, del Potro had to retire again, this time in a first-round match against Andy Murray at the Rome Masters which stood at 7–5, 4–6, 0–1 at the time of his retirement. During the second set, the Argentine allegedly made derogatory comments about Murray's mother which resulted in a complaint to the umpire.[53] Del Potro's serve was subsequently broken three times in a row, and he suffered a back injury, which caused his retirement.[53][54][55] In his second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, he was eliminated in the second round by Simone Bolelli in four sets.[50] In June, he reached the semifinals of the Ordina Open, losing to eventual winner and top seed Ferrer in straight sets.[56] For the second year in a row, he was knocked out of Wimbledon in the second round; he won his first round clash with Pavel Šnobel in straight sets, but then lost, 6–7(5), 3–6, 5–7, to Wawrinka.[50][57]

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After losing to Wawrinka, a successful summer followed for the Argentine. In July, del Potro and his team decided to remain in Europe to test his fitness. "We decided to play on clay courts for my back because if I start to play again on hard courts, maybe I will injure it again", he recalled.[52] Del Potro won his first career ATP tour title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, defeating Gasquet in straight sets in the final.[58][59] A week later, del Potro reached his second career ATP Tour final at the Austrian Open in Kitzbühel, where he beat local hope and sixth seed Melzer, 6–2, 6–1, in less than an hour, to claim his second title in two weeks.[60] Having competed in just two clay tournaments all of the 2007 season, he never thought he would win his first two titles on clay courts.[52]

In August, del Potro won his third consecutive title at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles, beating Andy Roddick, 6–1, 7–6(2), in the final.[61] After the match, Roddick praised his opponent. "[Del Potro] hits this way and this way kind of equally and he can hit it from inside out and running to it, which is a good thing for him, bad for the rest of us".[61] A fourth consecutive title followed a week later in the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C., where he recorded a 6–3, 6–3 victory over Viktor Troicki, becoming the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments.[4] "I don't really understand what I did. It is difficult to believe that I have won four consecutive titles", del Potro said, crediting coach Franco Davín for his impressive run. "He changed my game. He changed my mind. He changed everything. When I play and I see him in the stands, it gives me confidence. I can play relaxed."[52]

File:Juan Martin del Potro at the 2008 US Open.jpg

At the 2008 US Open, del Potro progressed to the third round, where he won his first match to five sets in the circuit against Gilles Simon to reach the round of 16.[50][62] He went on to defeat Japanese teenager Kei Nishikori in straight sets, 6–3, 6–4, 6–3.[63] In the quarterfinals, he was stopped by eventual finalist Murray,[64] losing after almost four hours.[65] The defeat came after 23 consecutive victories: the second-longest winning streak in 2008 and the longest winning streak by a player outside the top 10 in the last 20 years.[66]

Del Potro was selected to play his first home-based Davis Cup tie, between Argentina and Russia, which took place on 19–21 September. He won his first singles match against Davydenko in three sets, 6–1, 6–4, 6–2. He also won the fifth and deciding match against Igor Andreev in straight sets, 6–4, 6–2, 6–1, booking Argentina a place in the final.[67][68]

At the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships, he made the final by defeating 11th seed Jarkko Nieminen, top seed and defending champion Ferrer, and fourth seed Gasquet.[69] He was defeated by Tomáš Berdych, 1–6, 4–6, in the final.[70][71] At the Madrid Masters, he lost in the quarterfinals in straight sets to Federer.[72] He reached the semifinals of his next tournament, the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, before losing to countryman Nalbandian, 4–6, 4–6.[73] He was beaten by Nalbandian again in his next tournament, this time it was in the second round of the Paris Masters. Del Potro blamed fatigue for his defeat, "It's difficult to play the last tournament of the year. I was tired, my mind was in Argentina [the venue for the Davis Cup final]".[74] This left del Potro's qualification for the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup out of his hands; fortunately for him, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat James Blake in the semifinals, which was enough to ensure his place at the year-end event.[75]

Del Potro won one match at the Masters Cup, against Tsonga, but lost his other two matches against the higher-ranked Djokovic and Davydenko, meaning that he exited the tournament in the round-robin stage.[76][77][78] This was his last event of the year on the ATP Tour. He went on to lose one match, 6–4, 6–7(2), 6–7(4), 3–6, in the Davis Cup final, against López, as his team succumbed to a 3–1 loss against Spain.[79] He was forced to withdraw from his second match due to a thigh injury and was replaced by José Acasuso.[80] Nonetheless, del Potro enjoyed a successful season; winning four titles and finishing 2008 as the youngest player in the top 10,[7][19] top-ranked Argentine, and highest-ranked South American.[81]

2009Edit

At the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, del Potro was the top seed for the tournament.[82] He defeated American Sam Querrey in the final, 6–4, 6–4, to win the title, the fifth of his career.[83] Seeded eighth at the Australian Open, he beat Marin Čilić in the fourth round to become the first player to reach the quarterfinals that year.[84] Del Potro's tournament ended in his next match, when he lost in straight sets to Federer, 3–6, 0–6, 0–6.[85] At the BNP Paribas Open, the sixth seed del Potro advanced to the quarterfinals, where he was defeated by world no. 1 Nadal.[86] Del Potro avenged that loss the following week at the Sony Ericsson Open, where he came back from a double break down in the third set at 0–3 to defeat Nadal in the quarterfinals.[87][88] This was the first time del Potro had defeated Nadal in five meetings.[89] Despite a 1–6, 7–5, 2–6 loss in the semifinals to Murray,[88] del Potro reached a career-high ranking of world no. 5.[19]

File:Juan Martín del Potro at the 2009 French Open 5.jpg

In the clay-court season, del Potro was eliminated in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters by Ivan Ljubičić.[90] In Rome, del Potro beat Troicki and Wawrinka to advance to the quarterfinals, where he was defeated by defending champion Djokovic in straight sets. This meant del Potro's head-to-head record with the Serb was now 0–3.[88][91] Del Potro then played at the 2009 Madrid Masters. After defeating Murray for the first time in the quarterfinals,[92] he lost to Federer in the semifinals, 3–6, 4–6.[88] At the French Open, where he was fifth seed, del Potro defeated Michaël Llodra, Troicki, Andreev, and ninth seed Tsonga en route to the quarterfinals.[93] He then defeated three-time former quarterfinalist Robredo to get to his first semifinal.[94] He was defeated in a close semifinal, where he was leading by a set twice, 6–3, 6–7(2), 6–2, 1–6, 4–6, by eventual champion Federer who, after their match, said: "[Del Potro] is young and strong, I have a lot of respect for him."[95] Prior to this encounter, del Potro had never taken a set from Federer in their five previous career meetings.[96]

At the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, his poor grass-court form from the past continued on, as he went down to unseeded Lleyton Hewitt, 3–6, 5–7, 5–7, in the second round.[97] In the Davis Cup quarter-final against the Czech Republic, del Potro won his matches against Ivo Minář and Berdych in straight sets, but Argentina still lost the tie 2–3, eliminating them from the competition.[98] A few weeks later, he defeated Hewitt and Fernando González en route to the Washington final.[99][100] He successfully defended his title against top-seeded Wimbledon finalist Roddick, 3–6, 7–5, 7–6(6), to win his second tournament of the year[101] and become the first player since Andre Agassi to win back-to-back Washington titles.[102] Del Potro played the following week at the Masters 1000 in Montreal, where he was seeded sixth, defeating world no. 2 Nadal in the quarterfinals, 7–6(5), 6–1, his second win in a row over Nadal.[89][103] He then defeated Roddick in the semifinals, 4–6, 6–2, 7–5, saving a match point, to advance to his first Masters 1000 final, and to improve his head-to-head record against Roddick to 3–0.[104] In the final, he lost against Murray, 7–6(4), 6–7(3), 1–6.[103] He later withdrew from the next Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati due to fatigue.[105]

File:Juan Martín del Potro at the 2009 US Open 03.jpg

Seeded sixth at the 2009 US Open, del Potro began by defeating Mónaco and Melzer in straight sets,[106][107] before dropping a set but defeating Köllerer to reach the fourth round.[108] He defeated a resurgent Ferrero, 6–3, 6–3, 6–3, to advance to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.[109] Del Potro then advanced to the semifinals by defeating Čilić, 4–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–1.[110] Del Potro was down a set and a break, before winning 17 of the final 20 games to win the match.[111] His advance to the semifinals ensured his return to the top 5 in the world rankings.[112] He then defeated world no. 3 and reigning Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal, 6–2, 6–2, 6–2, in the semifinals to reach his first Grand Slam final. This was his third consecutive victory over Nadal and made him the first Argentine to reach a Grand Slam singles final since Mariano Puerta at the 2005 French Open.[113] In the finals, del Potro rallied from a set and a break down to defeat world no. 1 and five-time defending champion Roger Federer, 3–6, 7–6(5), 4–6, 7–6(4), 6–2; his first victory over Federer after six previous defeats,[96] and Federer's first loss in the US Open since 2003. Del Potro stated, "Since [I was] young, I dream with this and take trophy with me", said del Potro, who became the first Argentine male to win the title since Guillermo Vilas in 1977. "I did my dream, and it's unbelievable moment. It's amazing match, amazing people. Everything is perfect."[5] After the match, Federer praised del Potro; "I thought he hung in there and gave himself chances and, in the end, was the better man."[114]

He is the first player since countryman David Nalbandian to defeat Federer at the US Open, and at 198 cm (6 ft 6 in), he is the tallest ever Grand Slam champion.[115][116] Besides Nadal, Del Potro is the only player to defeat Federer in a Grand Slam final, and the first player to defeat both Nadal and Federer in the same Grand Slam tournament.[117][118]

Dick Enberg hosted the post-match ceremony during which a victorious Del Potro requested to address his fans in Spanish. Enberg declined the request saying that he was running out of time, but went on to list the corporate sponsored prizes Del Potro won.[119] A couple of minutes later, Del Potro made the same request again, and only then did Enberg relent saying, "Very quickly, in Spanish, he wants to say hello to his friends here and in Argentina". An emotional Del Potro finally spoke a few sentences in Spanish to a cheering crowd. Many viewers expressed disappointment with Enberg and broadcaster CBS over the interview.[119] A CBS executive later defended Enberg, noting that the contract with the United States Tennis Association required that certain sponsors receive time during the ceremony.[120]

File:Del PotrovsDavydenko finaltorneodemaestros 2009.jpg

In his first match since the US Open, Del Potro was upset by world no. 189 Édouard Roger-Vasselin in straight sets at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.[121] He then lost his second straight match to Melzer in the second round at the Masters 1000 event in Shanghai, retiring while trailing, 5–7, 1–2. This retirement caused concerns over the length of the tennis season.[122] He had to retire again in the Paris Masters quarterfinals when down 0–4 to Radek Štěpánek due to an abdominal injury. In November, del Potro competed in the ATP World Tour Finals, where he lost his first round-robin match against Andy Murray, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, but he managed to defeat Fernando Verdasco, 6–4, 3–6, 7–6(1), in his second match to keep his hopes alive. After defeating Roger Federer, 6–2, 6–7(5), 6–3, in the following match, he qualified for the semifinals, ousting Murray by the slimmest possible margin of one game.[123] He defeated Robin Söderling in the semifinals, 6–7(1), 6–3, 7–6(3),[124] before losing to Nikolay Davydenko, 3–6, 4–6, in the final.[125] Del Potro finished 2009 as the youngest player in the top 10, top-ranked Argentine, and highest-ranked South American for the second consecutive year.

2010Edit

File:Juan Martín del Potro Japan Open Tennis 2010.jpg

Del Potro started his 2010 season at the AAMI Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, Australia with a 6–3, 6–3 win over Croatian world no. 24 Ivan Ljubičić.[126] On January 11, he moved up to a career high world no. 4.[127] He was scheduled to face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on day 2 of the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament, but withdrew due to a wrist injury.[128] He came into the 2010 Australian Open with the injury not healed, and was forced to take a month off after the event.[129] In the fourth round, he fell to eventual semifinalist Marin Čilić, 7–5, 4–6, 5–7, 7–5, 3–6.[130]

Following the Australian Open loss, del Potro missed several tournaments, including the Masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, which were touted as potential return dates,[129] due to the persistent wrist injury. Even though he withdrew from the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, he regained the world no. 4 ranking, due to Murray's early exit in the second round.[131] He then withdrew from Barcelona and the Rome Masters. He was going to return the week beginning May 2.[132] However, on May 4 del Potro took the option of having an operation to fix the injury.[133] On May 19, del Potro said he would not defend his US Open title, but if all went well, he would appear after the event, targeting the Paris Masters as a possible comeback.[134] However, on July 22, the USTA stated that del Potro was expected to defend his US Open crown. The player himself confirmed that his comeback to the tour would be the Thailand Open[135] and said nothing about the New York event.[136] On August 2, del Potro returned to the practice courts.[137][138] A week before the start of the US Open, after practicing for two weeks, del Potro withdrew from the event, as he felt he was not ready to compete at the highest level.[139]

After the nine-month break, del Potro confirmed that he would make his return at the 2010 PTT Thailand Open.[140] In his return match, he lost in the first round, 6–7(7), 4–6, to Olivier Rochus.[141] He then also played at the 2010 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, but again lost in the opening round, this time to Feliciano Lopez, 3–6, 0–6.

2011Edit

Del Potro began his 2011 season at the Medibank International as a wildcard entry.[142] In the second round, Del Potro was defeated by Florian Mayer of Germany, 2–6, 5–7.[143] His next tournament would be the first Grand Slam of the year at the 2011 Australian Open, where Del Potro was defeated by 23rd seed Marcos Baghdatis in the second round, 1–6, 3–6, 6–4, 3–6.[144] As a result, Del Potro slipped further down the rankings to no. 485.

After the Australian Open, he participated in the SAP Open in San Jose, where he was accepted into the main draw via special exemptions (SE). He reached the semifinals, after defeating Gabashvili, Lacko, and Hewitt. There, he lost to top seed Fernando Verdasco in straight sets. Del Potro's next scheduled tournament was the 2011 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships and the Cellular South Cup, where he was again accepted into the main draw via special exemptions. Here, he made his second consecutive ATP semifinals by defeating sixth seed John Isner, Ivan Dodig, and qualifier Michael Russell. In the semifinals, he lost to top seed, world no. 8 and eventual champion Andy Roddick, 3–6, 4–6. To continue preparing for his first ATP Masters event since 2009, Del Potro entered the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. He defeated Ričardas Berankis in the first round, 6–4, 6–1, Teymuraz Gabashvili in the second round, 6–1, 6–1, fifth seed Kevin Anderson, 6–4, 6–4, and second seed Mardy Fish, 6–1, 7–5, to advance to an ATP-level final stage of a tournament since 2009 at the Barclays World Tour Finals in London. In the final of this 250 tournament, he defeated an erratic Janko Tipsarević, 6–4, 6–4, to get back in the winners circle.

Del Potro's next tournament was the ATP Masters at the 2011 BNP Paribas Open. He reached the semifinals, where he lost to top seeded Rafael Nadal in straight sets, 4–6, 4–6. Del Potro then flew to Key Biscayne, Miami to participate in the second ATP Masters of the year at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open. Del Potro made it to the fourth round, where he played Mardy Fish and lost, 5–7, 6–7(5).

He then played in 2011 Estoril Open, which was Del Potro's first tournament on clay since he lost the 2009 Roland Garros semifinal to the eventual champion Roger Federer. In Estoril, he defeated Fernando Verdasco, 6–2, 6–2, in the final. On the way to the final, del Potro defeated top seeded Robin Söderling, 6–4, 7–5, and dropped just one set in his five matches. After suffering an 8-millimeter tear in his left rectus, del Potro withdrew from Madrid and did not participate in the Rome Master, but has confirmed that he would play the French Open. Del Potro lost to Novak Djokovic, 3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 2–6, in the third round.

File:Juan Martin Del Potro 2011 Wimbledon.jpg

Del Potro reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time by defeating Flavio Cipolla, 6–1, 6–4, 6–3, in the first round, Olivier Rochus, 6–7(7), 6–1, 6–0, 6–4, and Gilles Simon, 7–6(8), 7–6(5), 7–5. He then lost to world no. 1 Rafael Nadal, 6–7(6), 6–3, 6–7(4), 4–6, in the fourth round. Del Potro returned to the top 20 at world no. 19 for the first time in nearly a year. His next tournament was the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, where he received a first-round bye as the second seed. He defeated James Blake, 6–4, 7–6, but was defeated 2–6, 4–6, by Ernests Gulbis in the quarterfinals.

At the 2011 Rogers Cup, seeded 16th, del Potro defeated Jarkko Nieminen, 6–4, 6–0, before losing 3–6, 4–6 to Marin Čilić in the second round. At the Western & Southern Masters tournament, del Potro advanced to the second round with a 4–1 ret. result over Andreas Seppi, before losing to Roger Federer, 3–6, 5–7, snapping the two-match winning streak he had against his rival. Del Potro entered the 2011 US Open seeded 18th. He beat Filippo Volandri, 6–3, 6–1, 6–1, in the first round and Diego Junqueira, 6–2, 6–1, 7–5, in the second, before losing, 6–4, 6–7(5), 2–6, 6–7(3), to Gilles Simon in the third round, thus ending his US Open campaign.

File:Delpo back swing - Flickr - chascow.jpg

After the US Open, del Potro played in the Davis Cup semifinal against Serbia, winning both of his rubbers against Janko Tipsarević and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7–6(5) 3–0 ret. helping Argentina to a 3–2 victory over Serbia in the semifinals, booking their place in the final. He then played in the Stockholm Open losing in the second round to James Blake 6–4 6–4. He then reached the final in Vienna losing for the first time to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga despite having won the first set, he eventually lost the final 7–6(5) 3–6 4–6. Del Potro then reached the semifinals of the Valencia Open 500 losing to eventual champion Marcel Granollers 6–4 7–6(4). He then withdrew from the Paris Masters due to a shoulder injury, wiping out his chances of qualifying for the Year-End Championships.

Del Potro played in the Davis Cup Final,with the title on the line and looking to fulfill his childhood dream.He lost in the second rubber to David Ferrer, despite being two sets to one up, eventually losing in a pulsating 5 set contest 2–6 7–6(2) 6–3 4–6 3–6 in a match lasting over five hours.With his country down 2–1 Del Potro needed to beat Rafael Nadal in the reverse singles to keep the tie going.Del Potro dominated the first set,but couldn't keep his level up and lost 6–1 4–6 1–6 6–7(0).For the third time in six years Argentina lost in the finals of the Davis Cup World Group,this time 3–1.

Del Potro finished the year ranked World no. 11 despite being ranked no. 485 at one stage. He was named 2011 ATP Comeback Player of the Year.

2012Edit

Del Potro's first tournament of the year was the 2012 Apia International Sydney where he was the top seed. He made it to the quarterfinals after receiving a bye into the second round. He defeated Łukasz Kubot in the second round, 6–4, 6–2. In the quarterfinals, he was beaten by Marcos Baghdatis, 7–6(7), 6–4.[145]

In the first round of the 2012 Australian Open, Del Potro defeated Adrian Mannarino in four sets, 2–6, 6–1, 7–5, 6–4.[146] he reached the quarterfinals of the grand slam for the second time losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, 6–4, 6–3, 6–2.

He went on to play in Rotterdam at the 2012 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, where he was third seed. Here he defeated Tomas Berdych, 6–3, 6–1, in order to make it to his first final of an ATP 500 level tournament or higher after returning from his wrist injury in 2010. He lost to Federer, 6–1, 6–4, in the finals. At the Open 13 in Marseille, Del Potro defeated Davydenko, Gasquet, Tsonga and Michaël Llodra in the final to get his tenth ATP championship. Del Potro then had a good run in Dubai, reaching the semifinals, then losing to Roger Federer again in straight sets 7–6(5) 7–6(6). Del Potro lost in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open to Federer for the fourth time this year 6–3 6–2. He made it to the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open but lost to David Ferrer 6–3 6–3.

Del Potro started his clay court campaign of 2012 in the Davis Cup Quarterfinals against Croatia, he won his first rubber against Ivo Karlović 6–2 7–6(7) 6–1, he demolished Marin Čilić in the reverse singles 6–1 6–2 6–1. He continued his clay court season at the Estoril Open, where he was the defending champion and the top seed, he did not drop a set en route to the finals where he beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets 6–4 6–2 in the final, to collect his 11th ATP World Tour Title. He next competed in the Madrid Masters as the twelfth seed and defeated Florian Mayer in the first round 6–4 6–2, Mikhail Youzhny in the second 6–4 7–6(1), Marin Čilić in the third 6–2 6–4, Alexandr Dolgopolov 6–3 6–4 in the quarterfinals and lost 6–7 6–7 to Tomáš Berdych in the semifinals.

Del Potro played at the second grand slam of the year, the French Open where he was seeded 9th. Del Potro defeated Albert Montañés in the first round 6–2 6–7(7) 6–2 6–1, Édouard Roger-Vasselin 6–7(5) 7–6(3) 6–4 6–4 in the second round and Marin Čilić in the third 6–3 7–6(7) 6–1. He defeated 7th seed Tomáš Berdych, 7–6 (6), 1–6, 6–3, 7–5 before losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, 3–6, 6–7, 6–2, 6–0, 6–3 after being up two sets to love to Federer.[147] – At Wimbledon, Del Potro beat Robin Haase 6–3,3–6,7–6(7–3),7–5 in the first round, Go Soeda 6–2,6–3,1–6,6–4 in the second round, Kei Nishikori 6–3,7–6(7–3),6–1 before losing to David Ferrer in the fourth round 3–6,2–6,3–6.

At the Olympic Games, Del Potro faced Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Olympic Men's Singles match which resulted in the longest Olympic tennis match by duration in history, lasting four hours and 26 minutes, half an hour longer than the previous record holder, a Milos RaonicJo-Wilfried Tsonga match that took place three days earlier; the final set took two hours and 43 minutes. Del Potro lost the encounter 6–3 6–7 17–19.[148] Less than two hours after this marathon of a game, Del Potro took to the tennis court again with Gisela Dulko for their quarter-final mixed doubles match against Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan, which they would end up losing 6–2 7–5.[149] Two days later, Del Potro defeated Novak Djokovic in the bronze medal match,[150] 7–5 6–4. It was Del Potro's first victory over Djokovic, excluding a win that occurred in the Davis Cup where Djokovic retired after dropping the first set.[151]

Del Potro returned to hard courts to play at the Rogers Cup where he was upset by 33 year old world number 40 Radek Stepanek 6–4, 7–6(5).

Del Potro lost in the quarter-finals of the 2012 US Open against Novak Djokovic.[152]

Playing styleEdit

Del Potro is primarily an offensive baseliner with a powerful serve and deep, flat/topspin groundstrokes.[153][154] His forehand shot is one of his main strengths and possibly the most powerful in the game, capable of frequently generating speeds of 100 mph,[155] and he also possesses a very consistent and powerful double-handed backhand.[156] Del Potro's height allows him to get a powerful first serve (often clocked in the mid 130s, and maxing out at 147 mph (M1000 Madrid, vs Murray), and makes it easier for him to return high topspin balls.[157]

Equipment and apparelEdit

Del Potro briefly used the Wilson BLX Pro Tour Racquet for the 2010 season, but after returning from his wrist injury switched back to his Wilson Hyper Prostaff 6.1 95 with K Factor KSix-One 95 paint job(18X20) and strings with Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power at 62 lb, and is sponsored by Nike. He often wore a sleeveless shirt but starting at the 2011 season has worn one with sleeves, a double-wide wristband, a bandana, Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11 shoes and a pair of woven shorts when on the court.[7]

Career statisticsEdit

Main article: Juan Martín del Potro career statistics

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

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