Juan Martin del Potro’s long-awaited return to tennis was cut short today by Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 7-6 in the first round of the Miami Open.
Del Potro, who hasn’t played since Sydney over two months ago, showed signs of rust and ineffectiveness of his surgically repaired left wrist.
“I don’t feel frustrated,” del Potro said. “I have to take the positive things on my comeback. I think I just played another official match after one year, and it’s a good signal for the future. It doesn’t matter the score for now… I don’t have any physical problem after the match, and I will be recovering soon for the future.”
The former World No. 4, who once beat Rafael Nadal en route to the Miami semifinals, admitted he might have to learn a new backhand.
“I got depressed for a while in the past,” he said. “In the end, I want to play tennis. If I have to learn a different backhand to keep playing, I will do it. I think is the biggest goal for me is to keep trying and stay mentally strong enough to go through all of the injuries.”
Other results on the day included three more teens advancing as Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev joined another teen, 18-year-old Hyeon Chung, in the second round.
The 18-year-old Coric came back to beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(3). Zverev, 17, ousted Australian Sam Groth also in three, 7-5, 6-7(5), 64 while another 17-year-old, Rublev became the third-youngest player to win a match in Miami history, behind Fabrice Santoro (17 years, 3 months) in 1990 and Boris Becker (17 years, 2 months) in 1985 following a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Pablo Carreno Busta.
Americans Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson also fell on the last day of the men’s first round.
Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt was in a late-night battle with Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
Tomorrow, 4-time finalist Rafael Nadal opens his bid for a first Miami title against Nicolas Almagro. Nadal turned his ankle during practice earlier in the week.
Two-time champion Andy Murray is also in action along with 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych, who plays Chung, and Stan Wawrinka.
After months dealing with a forearm injury, 3-time quarterfinals Jo-Wilfried Tsonga makes his 2015 debut at night against American Tim Smyczek.
“I don’t have big expectations for this tournament,” Tsonga said. “I’m just happy to be back on the court. The only thing I expect is to play my best tennis in the moment and that’s it.”
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