Juan Martin del Potro had a few chances to defend his title in tournaments, but last October at the Shanghai Masters that had all ended. The gentle Argentinian was playing a match with Croatia's Borna Coric and suffered a bad fall.
It was later diagnosed as a fractured right knee cap. As a result, he's been off and on a recuperation mode ever since. He withdrew from the ATP Finals in London and then had to bow out of the Australian Open. "I'll miss you Australian Open, but I'm happy with my progress..."
he'd say on his social media. Del Potro enjoyed a good 2018 season reaching the final of the U.S. Open, won the Mexican Open over Kevin Anderson, reaching the semifinals of the French and at Indian Wells defeated Roger Federer for the title in three sets.
This year he had to take a hiatus, withdrew from the Mexican Open which he won last year and played his first tournament after his knee injury at the Delray Beach Open in Florida. He got through the opening round defeating Yoshihito Nishioka and then Reilly Opelka both in straight sets.
It was the quarterfinal with Mackenzie McDonald when his knee started hurting again as he went down in three sets to the young American. There were medical time outs but the Argentinian did finish the match and wasn't able to participate in any other events after that.
The BNP Paribas at Indian Wells is another tournament that he had to withdraw from now and wouldn't be able to defend his title. "I am truly disappointed that I will not be able to return...to defend my title...It is one of my favourite tournaments..."
the Argentine had said. But his withdrawing serves to the advantage of many. Firstly, it gives the Argentine the time to recuperate and rest his injured knee. Secondly, with Del Potro out of the picture, this relieves the stress from his possible opponents as Federer, Djokovic and Nadal to compete against the Argentinian who surely is a tough opponent when uninjured.
Federer remembers very well how he bowed to Del Potro at last year's Indian Wells and missed getting the title. Thirdly, the withdrawal will give another ATP player Japan's Taro Daniel a seat into the main draw. Juan Martin del Potro will be missed, but he will recuperate and look forward to the rest of the year, playing on a healthy basis again to possibly go deep in tournaments or win a few titles before the year's end.