"Tennis waited for me for two years and it can wait one more Australian Open", Del Potro said as fans and media reacted to the thought of his withdrawal not only from the 2017 ASB Classic at Auckland, but also from The Australian Open.
It's been nearly six years, since 2010 that Juan Martin DelPotro had started having chronic ailments, surgeries and setbacks with his wrists. This past year, seen a resurgence of the Juan Martin DelPotro that most have come to know and love.
Back in June of 2015, he had went through wrist surgery again but played the Delray Beach Open in February of 2016, the Miami Open and many other tournaments, warming up his game and all the while testing his wrists. Wimbledon proved successful as he'd won his first round with Stephane Robert and digging deep with a second round match win with fourth ranked Stan Wawrinka.
DelPotro could have never predicted this victorious comeback after three struggling, painful years of wrists operations. The Rio Olympics in August began to be the ultimate test as he dramatically won over Novak Djokovic, being ranked at that time number 145 and also coming back from the injuries and ailments again.
Upon the win he was unable to nearly speak with emotion and joy at being successful over a player he's hardly been able to beat. He tested himself again and came up winning over Rafa Nadal. The match with Brit's Andy Murray proved a grueling four hour-four setter but it was in the cards for him to win a silver medal out of the deal.
There wasn't much rest in between and DelPotro proved himself when he cam up as a runner-up at the 2016 US Open against Stan Wawrinka again. But his performance among his Argentine comrades in the Davis Cup against Croatia was the proof of his passion for the game and determination to be great at helping his teammates win as Argentina captured their first Davis Cup title.
Has Juan Martin put his body through too much of a test and should he just continue to play, starting a new tour with old nagging injuries? He thinks not. The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the season and important and mandatory too, but players have to know when to continue and when to walk away.
DelPotro's missing the Australian Open has come at a time when his team and management have been aware that he needs still more time to recover from the chronic injuries he has endured for years. The result of the ailments has caused him to readjust his strategies on stroking and blasting the ball, and his surgeon Dr.
Richard Berger, a hand specialist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota says that "I couldn't be more proud of Juan Martin". He "considers him a poster child for an unbreakable faith in his recovery..." By giving The Australian Open a 'miss' gives DelPotro more time to heal and possibly to not have to readjust his game anymore towards compensating for poor wrist conditions; so he won't hear his name, "Delpo, Delpo" being yelled as he enters the stadium., He may also feel the void of seeing the fans standing applause of a good shot or a moan at an unforced error coming at a terrible time in the match, but being absent for three more weeks may prove to make a world of difference in the healing process.
It could mean that the next time he comes on court he may put on a great performance consistently, showing that he is now a completely healed player.