With expectations of Argentina’s first FIFA World Cup win in 36 years reaching a crescendo, Juan Martin del Potro has hinted that he could play next year’s US Open if that happens.
After beginning their campaign with a shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia, La Albiceleste have racked up five straight wins to reach their sixth World Cup final and second in eight years.
On Tuesday (December 13), Lionel Messi and Co. beat 2018 runners-up Croatia 3-0 at the Lusail Stadium. Messi led from the front by opening the scoring from the spot in the 34th minute. Julian Alvarez’s brace ensured a comfortable win for his country.
Following the win, Argentina will play either holders France or surprise semifinalists Morocco in the title match on Sunday (December 18).
Del Potro has been cheering for his country all the way during the World Cup. A supporter recently asked him if he would play the 2023 US Open if La Albiceleste go all the way in Qatar (translated from Spanish):
“Delpo, if Arg champion wins, you play the US Open next year, what do you think?????”
Del Potro’s reply gave hope to his supporters about a comeback:
Dale, hago lo posible
It’s noteworthy that Del Potro has played just once in the last three years due to a knee injury. He lost to Federico Delbonis in straight sets in the 2022 Buenos Aires opening round. The 34-year-old hasn’t officially announced his retirement but has dropped out of the ATP singles rankings due to inactivity.
“I was number three in the world, then suddenly I broke my knees, and here I am, with nothing” – Juan Martin del Potro
Juan Martin del Potro was widely regarded as one of the best players outside the Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
However, the Tower of Tandil has had wretched luck with injuries. After fracturing his knee cap during his win over Denis Shapovalov in 2019, Del Potro has played just once.
Regarding his injury woes, he recently told Argentinian media:
“I recently went to Switzerland to see another doctor. I started another treatment, it was recommended by many tennis players, and so far I have not even had a positive result. Imagine what it’s like after every treatment attempt or surgery, the frustration I can feel when things don’t work out. As usual I delude myself, I hope, I have faith in every new treatment I try and, when this fails, the blow is hard.”
“For three and a half years, despite several surgeries and treatments, it always happened. Today I can only walk, I do not run on the treadmill, I cannot climb the stairs without pain. I can’t drive for a long time without stopping to stretch my legs.”
Del Potro talked about the psychological aspect of life without tennis, tumbling from World No. 3 to being unranked.
“I can’t psychologically accept a life without tennis. I did not have a gradual transition to the after, I did not prepare, I have no idea what the other athletes did to live this process peacefully. I was number three in the world, then suddenly I broke my knees, and here I am, with nothing.”
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