Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Impressive Return Of Juan Martin Del Potro

After a shakey start in Sydney and Melbourne no one expecting great things from Juan Martin who looked match weary after being pushed by Feliciano Lopez and Dudi Sela in first round matches. His next two tournaments, San Jose and Memphis, he made it to the semifinals. Now, on just his fifth tournament back he has won his first title since winning the 2009 US Open.

Prior to his May 2010 surgery del Potro last played at the Australian Open before realising the problems in his wrist were too serious to continue playing. He tried to rehabilitate himself conservatively to no avail. Del Potro then made a brief return, impressively not rushing back to try and defend Flushing Meadows, seemingly unworried by the points he would lose, in Bangkok and Toyko - both in first rounds.

In Toyko he was smashed by Feliciano Lopez, a player who would usually not worry del Potro. He realised he'd tried to come back to soon and disappeared back to South America.

In his absence men's tennis had continued its predictable pathway that it had been meandering down prior to his five set US Open win over Federer. Sure 2010 was dramatic with Rafael Nadal smashing record after record and annihilating everyone in his path, and for the record I loved it, but it lacked excitement. You knew Nadal, through sheer willpower, would win the US Open before it had even started. You knew he was going to win Roland Garros.

Juan Martin del Potro added spice to the men's game, someone besides Rafa and Roger to really contend at Grand Slams, sadly he disappeared and we were left with the continual disappointments of Andy Murray and flashes of brilliance from Novak Djokovic who seems to have pulled it all together since helping Serbia win the Davis Cup.

To see the gangly Argentine, who seems to bark as he serves, return to the courts with his cool demeanor, pumping winners over the court, is truly a sight for sore eyes. No one had any idea how long it would take him to return to form - he's not quite there but he's not far off.

When Rafael Nadal returned to the tour after skipping his 2009 Wimbledon title defense with tendinitis in his knee it took him almost a year to win another tournament. Juan Martin has needed just five tournaments if you exclude Bangkok and Toyko which really don't count as attempts to return, more so attempts to test his wrist.

Hearts around the world sank when del Potro had his wrist attended to by the physio during his second round match against Marcos Baghdatis at the Australian Open but it seems to be smooth sailing for the former world number four.

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