The story so far in the men’s tournament at the US Open has been the return of former champion Juan Martin del Potro. The 27-year-old who shocked the world in 2009 beating Rafael Nadal and then Roger Federer to win the US Open, has been out of the title hunt in New York after four wrist surgeries until now.
And not surprisingly, he’s overjoyed to be back playing tennis during this second career.
“I enjoying even more when I get into the courts than years ago,” del Potro said Monday after getting a retirement from Dominic Thiem. “I just want to play tennis in front of the big crowds. I’m so exciting to still winning matches and maybe be in the top positions in the future.
“Now my life is different. I have a different game. I’m getting older. Everything is like new for me. It’s like a new career after my third surgery. I’m really enjoying this.”
Del Potro admitted he was close to retirement a year ago and never thought he’d be back to being a contender so quickly.
“I didn’t expect to be in quarters in my second Grand Slam after my comeback,” he said. I’m doing in a good way because I’m playing good tennis. My level is growing up every day.”
And the Argentine who hasn’t dropped a set will next face Stan Wawrinka. And he’s beaten the Swiss in their last four meetings including at Wimbledon this year. This will be their first meeting on hardcourts.
“It’s gonna be different match for sure,” del Potro said. “Different surface. Stan survives in the third round, I think. In the fifth he won a great match, and now he’s winning easily. He will be the favorite to win in that match, but anything can happen in this event for me. I got the power from the crowd in every match, and that’s help me a lot to fight and to play my best tennis.
“I’m confident with my level to do a good match.”
Del Potro added that he’s no longer worried about the wrist. And his backhand is improving.
“I’m not worried about my wrist at the moment because I’m practicing every day,” he said. ‘I’m playing matches every day. My wrist responds in the good way.
“I would like to improve my backhand as well now. I think with that change, my slices, my volley is improve a lot, because normally I didn’t use that shot and now I’m using very often. But in the future, if can combine slices and volleys with my old backhand would be more dangerous for my game and I will be comfortable with all the weapons.”
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