Over the last decade, it is hard to find a more dedicated or hard-working player than Juan Martin del Potro, one of the best but also the most-injury prone players on the Tour. The 2009 US Open champion and a former world no.
3 from the last season, the Argentine was troubled with numerous injuries over the years, forced to start all over a couple of times and fighting back to the very top of men's tennis, where he undoubtedly belongs. In what seemed to be a herculean task, Juan Martin had managed to overcome career-threatening wrist injury and play almost the entire 2017 season from the end of February, building the momentum that carried him towards the first Masters 1000 crown and the place in the top 3 for the first time in 2018.
As always before, the Argentine couldn't stay on the healthy side for too long, retiring at Shanghai Masters against Borna Coric last October due to a right knee injury and playing only one event in the next seven months.
Determined to make another comeback, del Potro looked good in Madrid, Rome (two match points against Djokovic) and Roland Garros this spring, finding the physical strength and strokes again ahead of grass swing that he kicked off from Queen's.
In the challenging opening round, Juan Martin defeated the struggling Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 16 minutes, offering no break chances and stealing the youngster's serve once in each set for a rock-solid triumph.
Nonetheless, the pivotal moment was not an ace he blasted in the tenth game of the second set but a slip he had two games earlier while trying to reach Shapovalov's volley at the net. Feeling an instant pain, Delpo had to undergo medical checks on the same evening and the results were devastating for one of the nicest players on the Tour, suffering a right patella injury just like in Shanghai that required surgery on June 22.
Juan Martin left the clinic two days later and announced a withdrawal from Wimbledon where he played in the quarters a year ago. Montreal and Cincinnati had to go down as well but there is good news on the horizon, with del Potro starting to work at the gym a few days ago, eager to make another comeback and prove his class and greatness.
The last year's US Open finalist is still on the entry list for New York and we are yet to see if he is going to feel ready to play at the final Grand Slam of the season or will wait a little bit more and get back at 100%.
World no. 12 has 1590 points to defend at the US Open, Beijing and Shanghai and will have to make a strong start once he returns if he wants to stay in the top-20 at the end of the season and kick off 2020 from a decent starting point.