Former world no. 3 and a Major champion Juan Martin del Potro probably played his last match in a career on Tuesday night. The beloved Argentine lost to his compatriot Federico Delbonis in the Argentina Open first round in Buenos Aires, experiencing an emotional life in front of his family, friends and fans.
Juan Martin has been dealing with a severe knee injury since October 2018, undergoing four surgeries but failing to recover and play competitive tennis again. The Argentine decided to farewell in front of his partisan crowd in Buenos Aires, enjoying a tennis match like never before and turning a new chapter of his life.
Del Potro had a fantastic run in 2018, lifting his first Masters 1000 title, reaching the US Open final and becoming world. no 3. A knee injury halted his progress in Shanghai, and he experienced an identical one at Queen's 2019, not playing since then.
Eager to overcome injuries one more time, del Potro gave his best to recover and get back on the Tour, undergoing those four surgeries but still feeling sharp pain that forced him to retire from tennis on Tuesday night. Juan Martin leaves the door open for a possible comeback in the future if his condition suddenly improves, but his Tuesday match should be his career-ending one.
Born in 1988, Juan Martin had a breakthrough season in 2008, winning four titles and finishing the season inside the top-8 and with the ATP Finals berth.
Juan Martin del Potro will most likely retire after Buenos Aires.
The Argentine claimed his first and only Major crown at the following year's US Open, beating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in back-to-back encounters to embrace tennis glory at such a young age.
Dealing with wrist issues, del Potro could not follow that pace in the years to come, missing a couple of seasons and losing all the ranking points to start all over. The Argentine embraced two solid seasons in 2017 and 2018, playing without problems and reaching his potential for the last time ahead of those severe knee injuries that ended his career.
"Today is a full stop. Now I have to take care of my knee for my life, for day-to-day life. I will leave the window open in tennis because what I experienced tonight is unforgettable. If today was my last game, I'm leaving happy.
It's difficult to explain how I felt on the court. So many emotions. The atmosphere was crazy, the people were crazy, and I had one of my best career-best matches in front of my crowd," Juan Martin del Potro said.