I was the third best tennis player in the world but now I have nothing after devastating injuries, says Del Potro emotionally
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO claims he has “nothing” after being forced to retire from tennis last year.
Affectionately known as the Tower of Tandil, the Argentine fought back with numerous wrist injuries to rise to a career-best world No. 3 in 2019.
But an unusual slip at Queen’s Club that summer resulted in the 2009 US Open winner devastatingly fracturing his kneecap.
After numerous surgeries and setbacks, Del Potro called it a day after a farewell performance in Buenos Aires last February.
The 6ft 6in gentle giant draped his iconic bandana over the net as he tearfully waved one final time to the ecstatic crowd after a 6-1, 6-3 loss to fellow countryman Federico Delbonis.
He then pulled out of a scheduled appearance at the Rio Open the following week, instead dropping the curtain on an epic career.
DelPo opened up about his injury hell, telling Argentine 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 haven’t even had a positive result.
“Imagine after every attempt at treatment or surgery, how frustrated I get when it doesn’t work.
“As usual I’m wrong, I hope I have faith in any new treatment I try and when it fails the blow is hard.
“And for three and a half years, despite multiple surgeries and treatments, it always happened.
“Today I can only walk, I can’t run on the treadmill, I can’t climb stairs without pain. I can’t drive for long periods without stopping to stretch my legs.
“This is my reality, which is hard, which is sad, but I always try to improve my situation and my new challenge is to live as well as I can psychologically, despite my problem.”
In an emotional interview, the fan favorite then added: “Psychologically, I cannot accept life without tennis.
“I didn’t have a gradual transition to the after, I didn’t prepare, I have no idea what the other athletes did to live this process peacefully.
“I was world number three, then all of a sudden I broke my knees and here I am, with nothing.
“And all the time I was trying to recover like I did with any other injury until I said in Buenos Aires, ‘That’s enough’.
“And from Buenos Aires I found myself and I’m still there, in this process of reflection, I’m wondering what I might like, I don’t know.
“When I talk to other athletes who are no longer active, they say to me, ‘Well, it took me the last two years of my career, the last year, I prepared anyway. I’m doing it now.’
Del Potro was the first in a string of high-profile tennis stars to bring down the curtain on epic careers in 2022.
Then-world No. 1 Ash Barty retired in March aged just 25, while French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired after a final appearance at Roland Garros last May.
More recently, legendary duo Serena Williams and Roger Federer lifted the curtain on epic careers in which they won 43 Grand Slam titles together.
Williams, 41, charmed Flushing Meadows one last time by beating Danka Kovinic and world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit before bowing out to Ajla Tomljanovic in round three of the US Open.
While Federer, also 41, made his last appearance alongside his close friend Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup last September, the duo narrowly lost to American duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6309860/tennis-del-potro-devastating-injuries/ I was the third best tennis player in the world but now I have nothing after devastating injuries, says Del Potro emotionally