Del Potro back on big stage after injury nightmare

Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:52pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - The lengthy scar on Juan Martin del Potro's left wrist serves as testimony to the misery the Argentine has endured since an epic Wimbledon semi-final against Novak Djokovic three years ago.

That brutal five-setter softened up eventual winner Djokovic for Andy Murray to take full advantage in the final.

But far worse was to follow for 2009 U.S. Open champion Del Potro who, since that sweltering day, had completed only four grand slam matches prior to arriving at the All England Club ranked 165th in the world.

A year ago Del Potro, 27, was undergoing a third operation on his left wrist -- the non-dominant one he uses to help him club his trademark double-handed backhand -- with his career in doubt.

So it was heartening to watch the six foot six inch (1.98-metre) former world number four in grand slam action for the first time in two and a half years at the All England Club on Tuesday, unless your name happened to be Stephane Robert.

The Frenchman was pummeled 6-1 7-5 6-0 as Del Potro, playing under a protected ranking, set up a heavyweight second-round clash against Swiss fourth seed Stan Wawrinka -- a match that in the past would have been on the second-week schedule.

For Del Potro, however, who is over the other side of the net hardly matters as his biggest opponent has been his body.

"My last two to three years have been too complicated and too tough," Del Potro, whose last grand slam match was at the 2014 Australian Open, told reporters.   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 28/6/16 Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in action during his match against France's Stephane Robert REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge