Juan Martin del Potro has announced that he is likely to retire after playing the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires next week due to a knee injury. The Argentine has been given a wildcard into the main draws of both Buenos Aires and the Rio Open later in the month, however it is possible that the 33-year-old will retire next week in front of his home crowd.
In an emotional press conference on Saturday evening, del Potro stated that next week “may be more of a farewell than a return”. The Argentine has struggled with a right knee injury, and has had four surgeries in an attempt to rectify the problem. However, del Potro stated that he “had still not found a solution.” The Argentine added; “I never imagined retiring from tennis without having the chance to say goodbye and I can’t imagine a better tournament than Buenos Aires to do it. After these weeks we will see what happens with my future, but I am clear that I want to live like a person of 33 years and try to not have pain. It’s a difficult decision, but I wanted to make it clear.”
The Argentine has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. In 2012, del Potro began feeling pain in his left wrist. This pain became so problematic that in March 2014, the Argentine opted to have surgery. However, the wrist was not fully healed after one surgery, so del Potro had a further two wrist surgeries before fully returning to the tour in 2016. When the Argentine returned to the tour, it was clear that he had lost some of the potency and firepower on his backhand side.
If this is to be the end of his career, then how much of an impact del Potro had should be remembered. The Argentine’s forehand will be remembered as being one of the most devastating shots that the game has ever seen. Del Potro’s crowning achievement was winning the US Open in 2009, where he defeated the likes of Marin Cilic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer en route to winning the title. The Argentine was an Australian Open quarterfinalist in 2009 and 2012, a twice Roland Garros semifinalist in 2009 and 2018, and a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2013.
However, del Potro will also be remembered for his fighting spirit and the way he was able to return to the top of the game despite his lengthy time out of the sport with his wrist injury. Post wrist injury, del Potro won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics and, in 2018 he won his first Masters 1000 title at Indian wells, saving match points to beat Federer in the final. In August 2018, the Argentine reached his career-high ranking of #3 in the world.
The Tower of Tandil won 22 career titles, and would no doubt have won more had it not been for his injuries. He was one of the most popular players on the ATP Tour, as well as being one of the most entertaining players to watch. Although it looks like his career will end on a sad note, del Potro will be remembered for being one of an elite group of players who won a Grand Slam during the dominance of Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
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