Juan Martin del Potro announced his withdrawal from the Australian Open earlier today. The 26-year-old said his surgically repaired wrist is not quite ready for Grand Slam play.
After withdrawing from Brisbane, the Argentine was excited to be back on the court in Sydney where he won two matches. But with continued pain, Del Potro has decided to continue his recovery back in Argentina and not risk any damage.
Since his March 24 surgery, Del Potro hasn’t played a Grand Slam match.
Q. What happened in practice? What made you decide to pull out?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I didn’t feel prepared for playing in this big event. My first Grand Slam after one year, five-set matches, is very tough. Could be dangerous for my wrist and also for my physic. I think it was a tough decision, but could be a smart decision if I want to stay healthy and play for the whole year.
Q. Did you feel a new pain or is it soreness?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It’s something similar. It’s been hurting the last couple of days and weeks. Nothing new. Nothing dangerous. But I think my wrist is not ready for play in this important tournament. I’m looking forward for the whole season. It’s tough to say this, but I’m still positive and I want to play tennis as I did last week. That’s why I decide for withdrawing here.
Q. How long do you think it will be before you play again?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I don’t know. I am still doing treatments. I will see the doctor again. I hope start playing again very, very soon in the United States tournaments. But he will say what could be good for my future. But I’m very positive. I really enjoying playing tennis again last week in Sydney, winning couple matches. I didn’t expect that, for sure. But that’s give me little bit of motivation for pass through this pain again. So I’m very exciting to come back again very soon and play without pain.
Q. How do you deal with it mentally? You are a big competitor. It’s been so long since you’ve been playing. There’s a new setback. Have you been reassured by your doctors that it’s not damaging or something?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Of course, is not easy. I’m sad pull out from this tournament. I was exciting to be here, playing in Grand Slam, a lot of people, meeting again the players. But I have to be smart and see more than my present now. I’m looking forward for my future, for my career. I have to do what the doctor says. I’m still positive. I want to play tennis. It doesn’t matter how. But after seeing my level in Sydney, I think if I in good shape and I’m healthy, without pain, I could be competitive again very soon.
Q. You’ve been told it’s possible to come back 100% by the medical staff?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, yes. I knew this situation, but I wanted to play anyway since Sydney. Was very positive for me see how I’m playing now. I win few matches. I beat one top-20 player in the world after one year. That’s means something good for me. I took all of the things for the future. Now is moment to stop for a while again, try to fix my problem, and then start thinking about new things, good things for the future. I need to stay positive and keep up the motivation for play again.
Q. You were supposed to play Janowicz. What do you think about his game?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: To be honest, I only thinking about me. He’s a great player, very aggressive player. But I don’t know what could happen with him or the rest of the player. I’m just looking on myself, and I want to be ready for play against them as soon as I can.
Q. Do you think you’ll have to change your style of play? Is there something about your game that gets you injured more often?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I don’t want to change my style. I don’t want to change my backhand, my technique. I’m trying to do the same as always. That’s what I trying to do with my doctor, as well. He’s behind me every day and looking forward for solve my problem. We are together in this situation. I trusting him a lot. I think in the future I will be playing free, without pain. Could be my big challenge for the moment, but if I feel without pain in the future, I will be very, very happy to get into the court again and play tennis for more years than what I am expecting now.
Q. When you came back last time after a year off with wrist problems, did you play with pain at first or were you pain-free immediately when you came back?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: In Sydney?
Q. No, last time.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It was the same. It was very, very similar. But this time I didn’t practice hard before Sydney. I only practiced like a month, but just serving, some forehands. My first hitting backhands was in Sydney. I’ve been practicing for 10 days in a row with three matches in the middle. For me was intensity matches, for sure. That’s why I’m taking this decision now because I don’t want to put in risk again my body, my wrist, and I want to play healthy. I saw last week, if I am in good shape, I could be a competitive player again. I’m very exciting for that. I’m positive. I want to do it. I want to do that again.
Q. Have you been given a timeframe, weeks or months, by the doctor?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No. I will meet him very soon and then we will make a schedule, we’ll make a plan to be on court as soon as possible again.
Q. How much training have you been able to do? Do you know how long it will be before you can practice?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I can practice. I can practice and train. But if I couldn’t hit backhands like I want, it’s not helping a lot for my game. If I do that, could be a risk for my mind, for my body, for everything. Now is time to stop and see the doctor again and make a good plan for the future. I really want to play tennis as soon I can. I will do everything to do it. I’m still very positive. I really enjoy this sport. I enjoy last week in Sydney. I meet again all the players. I met the fans again. They are still very nice with me. So that’s gives me lots of motivation for come back without pain.
Q. Are you going back to Argentina to have more examinations?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, yes. I want to stay calm a few days, then see the doctor, see what’s going on with my plan.
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