Juan Martin del Potro details why Novak Djokovic win at 2016 Rio was a game changer

Del Potro stunned Djokovic in the 2016 RIo Olympics first round.

by Dzevad Mesic
Juan Martin del Potro details why Novak Djokovic win at 2016 Rio was a game changer

Juan Martin del Potro revealed beating Novak Djokovic at the 2016 Rio Olympics was a game-changer for him as he would have probably retired if he failed to do well at the tournament. After appearing in a total of six tournaments during the 2014 and 2015 seasons and multiple wrist surgeries, del Potro gave tennis another shot in 2016.

Del Potro, who is 34 now, had doubts about his comeback and he also sensed that those around him weren't quite sure if he would manage to make a successful comeback. After inconsistent play in the first half of the 2016 season, del Potro shocked Djokovic in the 2016 Rio Olympics first round and went on to make the final before losing to Andy Murray.

That marked the start of del Potro returning to the top of tennis as the Argentine made the 2018 US Open final and was also a semifinalist at the 2017 US Open and 2018 French Open, as well as a quarterfinalist at the 2016 US Open and 2017 Wimbledon.

Del Potro on why beating Djokovic in Rio was a game changer for him

“I had already won everything and I broke my wrist. Why would I go back to playing tennis? I always wanted to go for the impossible. When I returned after the wrist surgery, everyone looked at me, there was pressure from sponsors and I didn't know if I was going to be in the top 10 again.

Rio was the pivotal tournament: I had said that if things didn't go well, I would hang up racket. In the draw I got Djokovic in the first round. Before the game I was locked in an elevator for three hours. There were signs. The handball guys rescued me: I went out and beat Djokovic.

It was a final point but it was the reinvention of my career: I won the silver medal and, at the end of the year, we won the Davis Cup," del Potro told Pangina12. In 2019 June, del Potro suffered a serious knee injury and he didn't play again until 2022 February, when he returned for just one match in Buenos Aires. In recent months, del Potro has been working on playing at this year's US Open.

Juan Martin Del Potro Novak Djokovic Olympics