Juan Martín del Potro

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Juan Martín del Potro
Juan Martin Del Potro - Queen's Club 2011.jpg
Del Potro at the 2011 Queen's Club
Country  Argentina
Residence Tandil, Argentina
Born (1988-09-23) 23 September 1988 (age 25)
Tandil, Argentina
Height 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Turned pro 2005
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Coach(es) Franco Davín
Prize money $15,345,947
Singles
Career record 312–126 (71.23%)
Career titles 18
Highest ranking No. 4 (11 January 2010)
Current ranking No. 13 (18 August 2014)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (2009, 2012)
French Open SF (2009)
Wimbledon SF (2013)
US Open W (2009)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals F (2009)
Olympic Games Bronze medal.svg Bronze Medal (2012)
Doubles
Career record 29–25
Career titles 1
Highest ranking No. 105 (25 May 2009)
Current ranking No. 248 (15 October 2012)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open 1R (2006, 2007)
Wimbledon 1R (2007, 2008)
Last updated on: 11 January 2014.
Olympic medal record
Competitor for  Argentina
Men's Tennis
Bronze 2012 London Singles

Juan Martín del Potro (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwan maɾˈtin del ˈpotɾo], born 23 September 1988), often nicknamed Delpo, is an Argentine professional tennis player who is currently ranked World No. 13 and is the highest-ranked Argentine.[1] Del Potro achieved a top-10 ranking by the Association of Tennis Professionals for the first time on 6 October 2008. In January 2010, he reached a then-career-high ranking of World No. 4, after which del Potro had to withdraw from most of the tournaments in 2010 due to a wrist injury.[2][3] He is coached by Franco Davín.

Having started playing tennis at the age of seven,[4] 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.[5] 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.[5]

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 one of only three players other than the Big Four to have won a men's Grand Slam singles title since 2005, the others being Marat Safin and Stanislas Wawrinka. He became the second Argentine and the fifth-youngest man to win the US Open title in the Open Era.[6] Del Potro also won the bronze medal in men's singles at the London Olympics in 2012.

Early life[edit]

Juan Martín del Potro was born in Tandil, Argentina. He is of Italian and Spanish descent. His father, Daniel del Potro, played semi-professional rugby union in Argentina and is a veterinarian.[4][7] His mother, Patricia, is a teacher and he has a younger sister named Julieta. Del Potro speaks Spanish, English and some Italian.[8] Aside from tennis, he enjoys playing association football and supports the Boca Juniors team in Argentina and Juventus in Italy.[8] He would often dedicate time to both sports during his childhood, and Argentine-Italian international footballer Mauro Camoranesi remains a close friend of del Potro.[4]

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).[4] 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.[9] When questioned about his ambitions in tennis he replied, "I dream of winning a Grand Slam and the Davis Cup."[10] However, he has refused to participate in the Davis Cup several times. He is a Roman Catholic.

Tennis career[edit]

2002–2005[edit]

As a junior in 2002, del Potro won the Orange Bowl 14s title, beating Marin Čilić en route to a victory over Pavel Tchekov in the final.[11] 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.[12]

As a junior Del Potro reached as high as No. 3 in the combined junior world rankings in January 2005.

Tournament 2004 2005
Junior Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A
French Open 1R QF
Wimbledon 2R A
US Open 1R A

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.[13] He also reached the finals in the Argentina Cup and Campionati Internazionali D'Italia Junior tournaments.[14]

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 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.[15]

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. 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, and in the second, he did not drop a set in the whole tournament and defeated Thiago Alves 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.[16]

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 in straight sets. After turning 17, he won the Montevideo Challenger by defeating Boris Pašanski in the final in three sets.[16] 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.[17] Throughout 2005, del Potro jumped over 900 positions to finish with a world ranking of no. 158, largely due to winning three Futures tournaments.[16][18] He was the youngest player to finish in the year-end top 200.[19]

2006[edit]

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.[20] 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 in the final.[21][22]

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.[22][23] 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.[24] 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.[22][25]

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.[26] In the US Open, he lost in the first round to fellow qualifier Alejandro Falla of Colombia in four sets.[27] He went on to qualify for his first ATP Masters Series tournament in Spain, the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, where he lost in the first round to Joachim Johansson.[22] 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 in three sets.[28] Del Potro finished 2006 as the youngest player in the top 100 at 18 years, 2 months.[8]

2007[edit]

Del Potro playing against Fernando González in the 2007 Australian Open

Del Potro began the year by reaching his first semifinal in ATP Adelaide, Australia, where he lost to Chris Guccione, having beaten Igor Kunitsyn earlier in the day.[29][30] 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.[10][30] In February, del Potro played for Argentina in the first round of the Davis Cup against Austria, winning the fourth and deciding match against Jürgen Melzer in five sets, allowing Argentina to qualify for the quarterfinals.[31]

Del Potro defeated Feliciano López before losing to eventual semifinalist Mardy Fish in the second round of the indoor Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.[32] 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.[33] 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 in two sets.[34] In May, he lost in the first round of the French Open to eventual champion Nadal.[30][35]

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.[30][36] 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 at the quarterfinal stage.[37][38] At his inaugural Wimbledon Championships, he defeated Davide Sanguinetti in the first round, before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer in the second round, after a rain delay in the third set.[39][40]

Del Potro lost to Frank Dancevic in three sets in the second round of the singles at the ATP event in Indianapolis.[41] At the same event, partnered with Travis Parrott in doubles, he won his first doubles tournament, defeating Teymuraz Gabashvili and Karlović in the final.[42] 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."[43] 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 to former world no. 1 Carlos Moyá.[44][45][46] At that year's US Open, he defeated Nicolas Mahut and Melzer, before losing to eventual finalist and third seed Novak Djokovic in the third round.[30][47] He also reached the third round of the Madrid Masters by beating Potito Starace and Tommy Robredo, before losing to eventual champion David Nalbandian in straight sets.[48] In the last tournament of the year, the Paris Masters, he reached the second round, where he lost to Nikolay Davydenko.[30] That year, del Potro was the youngest player to finish in the year-end top 50 at 19 years, 2 months.[8]

2008: Breakthrough[edit]

Del Potro won 4 consecutive titles in 2008, with the final one coming in Washington.

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.[49][50] He then made it to the second round of the Australian Open in January, only to retire against David Ferrer due to an injury.[51] Del Potro returned to the circuit in March, winning his first match against Jesse Levine at the Sony Ericsson Open, before losing in the second round to López.[52] 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."[53]

In May, del Potro had to retire again, this time in a first-round match against Andy Murray at the Rome Masters. During the second set, the Argentine allegedly made derogatory comments about Murray's mother which resulted in a complaint to the umpire.[54] Del Potro's serve was subsequently broken three times in a row, and he suffered a back injury, which caused his retirement.[54][55][56] In his second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, he was eliminated in the second round by Simone Bolelli in four sets.[51] In June, he reached the semifinals of the Ordina Open, losing to eventual winner and top seed David Ferrer in straight sets.[57] 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 to Stanislas Wawrinka.[51][58]

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.[53] Del Potro won his first career ATP tour title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, defeating Gasquet in straight sets in the final.[59][60] 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 in less than an hour, to claim his second title in two weeks.[61] 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.[53]

In August, del Potro won his third consecutive title at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles, beating Andy Roddick in straight sets in the final.[62] 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".[62] A fourth consecutive title followed a week later in the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C., where he recorded a victory over Viktor Troicki, becoming the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments.[5] "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."[53]

Del Potro preparing to serve at the 2008 US Open

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.[51][63] He went on to defeat Japanese teenager Kei Nishikori in straight sets.[64] In the quarterfinals, he was stopped by eventual finalist Murray,[65] losing after almost four hours.[66] 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.[67]

Del Potro was selected to play his first home-based Davis Cup tie, between Argentina and Russia. He won his first singles match against Davydenko in three sets. He also won the fifth and deciding match against Igor Andreev in straight sets, booking Argentina a place in the final.[68][69]

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 Richard Gasquet.[70] He was defeated by Tomáš Berdych in the final.[71][72] At the Madrid Masters, he lost in the quarterfinals in straight sets to Roger Federer.[73] He reached the semifinals of his next tournament, the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, before losing to countryman Nalbandian.[74] 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]".[75] 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.[76]

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.[77][78][79] This was his last event of the year on the ATP Tour. He went on to lose one match in the Davis Cup final, against López, as his team succumbed to a 3–1 loss against Spain.[80] He was forced to withdraw from his second match due to a thigh injury and was replaced by José Acasuso.[81] Nonetheless, del Potro enjoyed a successful season; winning four titles and finishing 2008 as the youngest player in the top 10,[8][20] top-ranked Argentine, and highest-ranked South American.[82]

2009: Maiden Grand Slam title[edit]

At the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, del Potro was the top seed.[83] He defeated American Sam Querrey in the final to win the title, the fifth of his career.[84] Seeded eighth at the Australian Open, he beat Marin Čilić in the fourth round.[85] Del Potro's tournament ended in his next match, when he lost in straight sets to Federer.[86] At the BNP Paribas Open, the sixth seed del Potro advanced to the quarterfinals, where he was defeated by world no. 1 Nadal.[87] 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.[88][89] This was the first time del Potro had defeated Nadal in five meetings.[90] Despite a loss in the semifinals to Murray,[89] del Potro reached a career-high ranking of world no. 5.[20]

At the 2009 French Open, del Potro made the semi-finals, losing to eventual champion Federer

In the clay-court season, del Potro was eliminated in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters by Ivan Ljubičić.[91] In Rome, del Potro beat Victor 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.[89][92] Del Potro then played at the 2009 Madrid Masters. After defeating Murray for the first time in the quarterfinals,[93] he lost to Federer in the semifinals.[89] 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.[94] He then defeated three-time former quarterfinalist Tommy Robredo to get to his first semifinal of a Grand Slam.[95] He was defeated in a close semifinal, where he was leading by a set twice, by eventual champion Federer who, after their match, said: "[Del Potro] is young and strong, I have a lot of respect for him."[96] Prior to this encounter, del Potro had never taken a set from Federer in their five previous career meetings.[97]

At the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, his poor grass-court form from the past continued, as he went down to unseeded Lleyton Hewitt in the second round.[98] 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.[99] A few weeks later, he defeated Hewitt and Fernando González en route to the Washington final.[100][101] He successfully defended his title against top-seeded Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick to win his second tournament of the year[102] and become the first player since Andre Agassi to win back-to-back Washington titles.[103] 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, his second win in a row over Nadal.[90][104] He then defeated Roddick in the semifinals, 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.[105] In the final, he lost against Murray in three sets.[104] He later withdrew from the next Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati due to fatigue.[106]

Del Potro on his way to winning the US Open

Seeded sixth at the 2009 US Open, del Potro began by defeating Juan Mónaco and Jürgen Melzer in straight sets,[107][108] before dropping a set but defeating Köllerer to reach the fourth round.[109] He defeated a resurgent Juan Carlos Ferrero to advance to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.[110] Del Potro then advanced to the semifinals by defeating Marin Čilić.[111] Del Potro was down a set and a break, before winning 17 of the final 20 games to win the match.[112] His advance to the semifinals ensured his return to the top 5 in the rankings.[113] He then easily defeated world no. 3 and reigning Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal 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.[114] 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 in five sets; his first victory over Federer after six previous defeats,[97] 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."[6] 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."[115]

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.[116][117] Besides Nadal and Djokovic, 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.[118][119]

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.[120] 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.[120] 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.[121]

Del Potro (bottom) at the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals

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.[122] He then lost his second straight match to Melzer in the second round at the Masters 1000 event in Shanghai, retiring while trailing in the second set. This retirement caused concerns over the length of the tennis season.[123] 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, but he managed to defeat Fernando Verdasco in his second match to keep his hopes alive. After defeating Roger Federer in the following match, he qualified for the semifinals, ousting Murray by the slimmest possible margin of one game.[124] He defeated Robin Söderling in the semifinals,[125] before losing to Nikolay Davydenko in the final.[126] 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.

2010: Best Ranking and wrist injury[edit]

Juan Martín del Potro in the 2011 Tokyo Open.

Del Potro started his 2010 season at the AAMI Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, Australia with a win over Croatian world no. 24 Ivan Ljubičić.[127] On 11 January, he moved up to a career high world no. 4.[128] 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.[129] He came into the 2010 Australian Open with the injury not healed, and was forced to take a month off after the event.[130] In the fourth round, he fell to eventual semifinalist Marin Čilić.[131]

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,[130] 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.[132] He then withdrew from Barcelona and the Rome Masters. On 4 May, del Potro took the option of having an operation to fix the injury.[133] On 19 May, 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 22 July, 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 2 August, 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 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 López.

2011: Return to tour[edit]

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 in straight sets,[143] despite winning against sixth seed Feliciano López in three sets. His next tournament would be the first Grand Slam of the year at the 2011 Australian Open, where Del Potro was defeated by 21st seed Marcos Baghdatis in the second round.[144] As a result, Del Potro slipped further down the rankings to no. 485.

After the Australian Open, he participated in the 2011 SAP Open in San Jose, where he was accepted into the main draw via protected ranking (PR). He reached the semifinals without dropping a set, however 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 accepted into the main draw via wildcard. Here, he made his second consecutive ATP semifinal, where he lost to top seed, world no. 8, and eventual champion Andy Roddick. 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, Teymuraz Gabashvili, Kevin Anderson and second seed Mardy Fish, to advance to an ATP-level final stage of a tournament since 2009 at the Barclays World Tour Finals in London. In the final, he defeated an erratic Janko Tipsarević in two sets 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. 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, in the third round he defeated World no.4 Robin Söderling in straight sets, however in the next round he lost to eventual semifinalist Mardy Fish in straight sets.

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 in the final. On the way to the final, del Potro defeated top seeded Robin Söderling (Who was two time-finalist in the French Open) and dropped just one set in his five matches. After suffering an 8-millimeter tear in his left rectus, del Potro withdrew from 2011 Mutua Madrid Open and did not participate in the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, but confirmed that he would play the French Open. Del Potro lost to Novak Djokovic in the third round.

Del Potro in 2011 Wimbledon

Del Potro reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time by defeating Flavio Cipolla, Olivier Rochus, and Gilles Simon. He then lost to world no. 1 Rafael Nadal, in four sets, 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 but was defeated by Ernests Gulbis in the quarterfinals.

At the 2011 Rogers Cup, seeded 16th, del Potro defeated Jarkko Nieminen before losing to Marin Čilić in the second round. At the Western & Southern Masters tournament, del Potro lost to Roger Federer, snapping the two-match winning streak he had against his rival. Del Potro entered the 2011 US Open seeded 18th. He beat Filippo Volandri and Diego Junqueira before losing to Gilles Simon in the third round, thus ending his US Open campaign.

Del Potro in the 2011 US Open.

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. This helped 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. 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. Del Potro then reached the semifinals of the Valencia Open 500, losing to eventual champion Marcel Granollers. 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 five-set contest 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 could not keep his level up and lost in four sets. 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.

2012: Return to the Top 10 and Olympic Medal[edit]

Del Potro at the Olympic Games medals award ceremony (From right to left, Del Potro, Andy Murray and Roger Federer).

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. In the quarterfinals, he was beaten by Marcos Baghdatis.[145]

In the first round of the 2012 Australian Open, Del Potro defeated Adrian Mannarino in four sets.[146] He reached the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam for the second time, losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.

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 Tomáš Berdych 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 in straight sets in the final. 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. Del Potro lost in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open to Federer for the fourth time that year. He made it to the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open, but lost to David Ferrer in two sets.

Del Potro started his clay-court campaign of 2012 in the Davis Cup Quarterfinals against Croatia. He won his first rubber against Ivo Karlović and then demolished Marin Čilić in the reverse singles. 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 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, Mikhail Youzhny, Marin Čilić, Alexandr Dolgopolov, but lost to Tomáš Berdych in the semifinals.

Del Potro at the 2012 US Open

Del Potro played at the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, where he was seeded ninth. Del Potro defeated Albert Montañés, Édouard Roger-Vasselin and Marin Čilić. He defeated seventh seed Tomáš Berdych before losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals in five sets, after being up two sets to love.[147]

At Wimbledon, del Potro beat Robin Haase, Go Soeda, and Kei Nishikori, before losing to David Ferrer in the fourth round.[148]

At the Olympic Games, del Potro faced Roger Federer in the semifinals, 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.[149] Less than two hours after this marathon, del Potro took to the tennis court again with Gisela Dulko for their quarterfinal mixed doubles match against Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan, which they lost.[150] Two days later, del Potro defeated Novak Djokovic in the bronze-medal match.[151] 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.[152]

Del Potro returned to hard courts to play at the Rogers Cup, where he was upset by 33-year-old world no. 40 Radek Štěpánek.[153] Del Potro lost in the quarterfinals of the US Open against Djokovic.[154]

In October, del Potro beat qualifier Grega Žemlja to win the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. He then beat Roger Federer to win the Swiss Indoors title,[155] in Basel. The following week, he suffered a third-round loss to Michaël Llodra at the BNP Paribas Masters.[156] During the round-robin stage of the ATP World Tour Finals, he won two of his three matches and qualified for the semifinals, where he was defeated by Djokovic in three sets, after leading by a set and a break.[157]

He ended the year ranked world no. 7, with a 65–17 win-loss record and four titles captured throughout the season.

2013: Continued successes and back to the Top 5[edit]

Del Potro began his season at the Australian Open, where he was upset in the third round by Jérémy Chardy in five sets. Next month, he won the Rotterdam Open beating Gaël Monfils, Ernest Gulbis, Jarkko Nieminen, Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals, and Julien Benneteau in the final.[158] At Dubai, Juan Martin beat Marcos Baghdatis, saving three match points, Somdev Devvarman, and Daniel Brands, but lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Novak Djokovic.

At Indian Wells, del Potro defeated Nikolay Davydenko, Björn Phau, and Tommy Haas. In the quarterfinals, he beat Andy Murray for the second time in six matches. In the semifinals, he upset top-seed Novak Djokovic, to end the Serb's streak of 22 victories. He then lost in the final to Rafael Nadal, in what was his first Masters 1000 out of 5 this year. Del Potro withdrew from the clay court season and from the French Open due to a viral infection.

On the grass season, del Potro began at the 2013 Aegon Championships, where he won his first comeback match in three sets against Xavier Malisse, who had achieved his biggest win at the Queens Club against Novak Djokovic in 2010. However, it was not to be a repeated upset, as del Potro came back from behind in the third set to take the match. He defeated Daniel Evans, but only to be upset on the Quarterfinals by Lleyton Hewitt

At Wimbledon, del Potro won against Albert Ramos, Jesse Levine and Grega Žemlja before advancing past the fourth round for the first time in his career, thanks to a win over Andreas Seppi. He then played David Ferrer and, despite slipping badly during the fifth point of the match and aggravating a pre-existing leg injury—requiring over five minutes of treatment and by his own admission being close to forfeiting the match — del Potro recovered to defeat Ferrer in straight sets to advance to his first Grand Slam semifinal since the 2009 US Open without dropping a set. On 5 July, Djokovic defeated him in five sets in 4 hours and 43 minutes, making it the longest semifinal in the history of Wimbledon men's singles.

Starting the US Series, Del Potro won the 2013 Citi Open in Washington DC, where he got a first round bye, and then defeated Ryan Harrison, Bernard Tomic, Kevin Anderson on his way to the quarter-finals, Tommy Haas on the semi-finals and won the final against John Isner in three sets. Before the final he didn't dropped a set. This was his third title at the event and his second of the year. Del Potro reached the semi-finals of Western & Southern Open where he won against Nikolay Davydenko, Feliciano López, in the quarter-finals Dmitry Tursunov and faced John Isner, this time on the Semifinals. He lost the match in three sets. Del Potro got to the second round of the US Open, after a four-set victory against Guillermo García-López, only to be upset in the second round by Lleyton Hewitt in five sets.

At the 2013 Japan Open, Del Potro beat Marcos Baghdatis, Carlos Berlocq, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Nicolas Almagro before beating third seed Milos Raonic to win his third title of the year.

In October, Del Potro reached the final of the 2013 Shanghai Rolex Masters, defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber, Tommy Haas, Nicolás Almagro and Rafael Nadal (for the first time since the semi-finals of the 2009 US Open) en route, but eventually losing to defending champion Novak Djokovic in a third set tiebreak. Later he beats Roger Federer at 2013 Swiss Indoors in the final, being his fourth title of the year but lost to him at the 2013 BNP Paribas Masters and in a winner-takes-all, round robin clash in the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals, finishing the year with a 51-16 record, winning 4 titles overall and $4,294,039. Del Potro was named Argentina’s Sportsman of the Year.[159]

2014: Recurrence of wrist injury[edit]

Juan Martin del Potro began his 2014 ATP World Tour season at the Apia International Sydney as the top seed, winning the tournament against defending champion Bernard Tomic in only 53 minutes.[3] He won against Nicolas Mahut, Radek Štěpánek, and Dmitry Tursunov en route to the title. It was his fifth title as top seed.[160]

When asked to play for Argentina in the Davis Cup, Del Potro declined, arguing problems with the press and the team, and his decision to prioritize his personal career.[161]

Juan Martin del Potro at the 2014 Dubai Tennis Championships

At the Australian Open, he won his opening match against Rhyne Williams, but lost to Roberto Bautista-Agut in the second round, having led two sets to one. Despite his second-round loss, del Potro returned to being world no. 4 because David Ferrer made it only to the quarterfinals and thus lost 360 points, whereas del Potro lost only 45 points. After the Australian Open, del Potro required treatment for his left wrist, which has been giving him trouble since 2012.[162]

In February, at the 2014 Rotterdam Open, he eased past Gael Monfils and Paul-Henri Mathieu in straight sets but fell to Latvian Ernests Gulbis in the quarterfinals. In the 2014 Dubai Tennis Championships, he retired against Somdev Devvarman due to wrist injury after losing the first set. The same injury lead to his subsequent withdrawal from Masters 1000 series events in Indian Wells and Miami, meaning del Potro dropped to World No. 8.

On 23 March, Del Potro announced in a press conference that he was to undergo surgery to repair the problem in his left wrist. This lead to him missing the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, resulting in a further drop down the rankings to number 13 in the world. Del Potro started training again at the end of May, however his left wrist was still in pain.[163] He has committed to play in Kuala Lumpur following the American hard court season, where he will make his return after seven months out.[164]

Playing style[edit]

Del Potro is an offensive counterpuncher with a very powerful serve and deep, flat, topspin groundstrokes.[165][166] His forehand is one of his main strengths and possibly the most powerful in the game, capable of frequently generating speeds of 100 mph,[167] and he also possesses a very consistent and powerful double-handed backhand.[168] Del Potro is also known to have a very low unforced error rate, making him a very good defender too. He's also comfortable going to the one-handed slice backhand, and also has considerable touch for a bigger player. 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.

Equipment and apparel[edit]

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 58 lb, and is sponsored by Nike. He often wore a sleeveless shirt but starting at the 2011 season he wears ones with sleeves, a double-wide wristband, a bandana, Nike Air Max Cage shoes and a pair of woven shorts when on the court.[8]

Rivalries[edit]

Big Four[edit]

Del Potro has a 14–39 (26.42%) record against all members of the Big Four.

Roger Federer[edit]

Del Potro has a 5–15 (25%) record against Roger Federer. Despite Roger Federer winning the most matches, Del Potro won the most important one (Won 2009 US Open with a 0–6 (0%) record against Federer) and the two provided epic clashes between the two players. Del Potro captured both 2012 and 2013 Swiss Indoors finals against the five-time titlist of the tournament.

Novak Djokovic[edit]

Del Potro has a 3–11 (21.43%) record against Novak Djokovic. In 2012, Del Potro won the Bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in straight sets. However in 2013, Djokovic got the upper hand on the rivalry again and won an epic five-setter at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships and a thrilling three-setter final at the 2013 Shanghai Masters.

Rafael Nadal[edit]

Del Potro has a 4–8 (33.33%) record against Rafael Nadal. The pair played three semifinals and two finals (One Davis Cup rubber). Del Potro bested Nadal in the semifinals for the first time after a 0–4 (0%) record en route to his 2009 US Open title which was the only other time (other than Novak Djokovic) where a player managed to beat both Roger Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam tournament. However the Spaniard managed to win both times in the Indian Wells Masters encounters, in the 2011 semifinal and the 2013 final. Nadal also won the fourth and last rubber of the 2011 Davis Cup final against the Argentine.

Andy Murray[edit]

Del Potro has a 2–5 (28.57%) record against Andy Murray. In their seven matches, only one was played in this decade.[169] They only played one final, in the 2009 Rogers Cup, which was won by Murray. However, when Del Potro beat Murray in the quarterfinals of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open, Del Potro won against all members of the big four in that 2013 year.

Significant finals[edit]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (1 title)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 2009 US Open Hard Switzerland Roger Federer 3–6, 7–6(7–5), 4–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–2

Year-End Championships finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 2009 London Hard (i) Russia Nikolay Davydenko 3–6, 4–6

Career statistics[edit]

Grand Slam tournament performance timeline[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR LQ (Q#) A P Z# PO SF-B F S G NMS NH

Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.

To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.

Tournament 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A 2R 2R QF 4R 2R QF 3R 2R 0 / 8 17–8 68.00
French Open 1R 1R 2R SF A 3R QF A A 0 / 6 12–6 66.67
Wimbledon A 2R 2R 2R A 4R 4R SF A 0 / 6 14–6 70.00
US Open 1R 3R QF W A 3R QF 2R A 1 / 7 20–6 76.92
Win–Loss 0–2 4–4 7–4 17–3 3–1 8–4 15–4 8–3 1–1 1 / 27 63–26 70.79

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External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Argentina Juan Curuchet
Argentina Walter Pérez
Olimpia de Oro
2009
Succeeded by
Argentina Luciana Aymar
Preceded by
Netherlands Robin Haase
ATP Comeback Player of the Year
2011
Succeeded by
Germany Tommy Haas