Juan Martin Del Potro to Undergo Wrist Surgery, Season Might Be Over

by Tom Gainey | May 4th, 2010, 8:46 am

Juan Martin Del Potro’s management said more information would be available on Tuesday, and they were right. Unfortunately the news isn’t good for the US Open champion who today announced that he will undergo surgery on his injured right wrist.

In a loose Google translation from this story Del Potro says in a letter:

“Today, Tuesday, May 4, I will be operated ulnar extensor tendon in my right wrist carpal. He will be Dr. (Richard) Berger, a specialist in the field, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Throughout this year, I wanted to avoid surgery with different treatments, but obviously the injury was more serious

“I decided to write because I want them to know by my own words of what is happening to me. Throughout this year I wanted to avoid surgery with different treatments, but obviously the injury was more serious” .

Del Potro also denied have mood related issues or panic attacks.

He also calls his recovery time “long” and according to earlier reports with surgery he would miss 3-6 months in recovery which very well could keep the 21-year-old off the court for the rest of the tennis season. His last match was a January 24th loss to Marin Cilic in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

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34 Comments for Juan Martin Del Potro to Undergo Wrist Surgery, Season Might Be Over

Thava Says:

Absolutely shocking

Polo Says:

I hope del Potro regains full power and dexteriy in his right hand after his surgery to resume his career after this scary event for somebody so young and so good.

Mitch Says:

I wouldn’t say this is shocking – the guy hasn’t played since January, and wasn’t even at his best then. Hopefully he can make a full recovery and get back to his old form.

steve Says:

So sad. He’s a great player and I hope he makes a full recovery.

Thomas Says:

yes, this is sad. i miss seeing those forehands.

Ben Pronin Says:

This is as bad of an outcome as possible right after winning your first slam title. But, 3-6 months, recovers, probably misses the rest of this year, comes back in 2011 strong and healthy. He’ll still have the game, I’m sure, just get healthy Del Po, we’re all rooting for you.

montecarlo Says:

Really Sad after so many positives at the end of the last year. get well soon Potro and come back firing again.

Lisa Farley Says:

Hoping for positive news, but I can live with watching my recorded matches of him until he returns and rooting for Gulbis. Love ya Juan. Get the forehand winner together.

jane Says:

Best wishes to JMDP. We’ll miss him this season, but the silver lining is that he is young, so he can still have a very promising career. Get well Juan Martin!

janadev Says:

I am happy that he got his first slam before going for the surgery..It helps in regaining his form and recover from surgery..

KM's Says:

Wow, poor guy. At least he can take comfort in his US Open win. I hope he can come back strong, but with almost a whole season away, with little training, that will be quite a task. Good luck to him.

Kind of puts Rafael Nadal’s injuries in perspective for me. Everyone’s quick to say the Spaniard’s body is betraying him early, but here you have a guy with far less play under his belt facing a much scarier injury.

C!P! Says:

i think DelPo’s injury was somehow a disaster waiting to happen,considering his style of play ,all tall guys tend to break easier than ordinary players

KillerC Says:

oooo god, who else is gonna be able to beat federer at the US OPEN!?!?! :( wish ya healthy great return DELPO!

JoshDragon Says:

That’s terrible news. I really do miss Del Potro, I hope he’s able to make a full recovery and come back to the tour.

Kimo Says:

Delpo is sorely missed right now. Imagine what Roland Garros would have been like if you had Fed, Rafa, Djoko and Delpo battling for the title!!!

I wish you all the best, Juan Martin.

ThyGodisTennis Says:

The hard court season ain’t going to be the same.

Lisa Farley Says:

From ATP site:

The 2009 US Open champion added: “As you will all understand, this is not a happy moment in my life. But I’m used to battling through adversity and I have the strength to come through this. The recovery time will be lengthy, but it depends on many factors that today I can’t assess because it’s too soon.

“I will spend the first few days after the operation in Rochester and then I will return to Argentina where, with more precision, I will be able to explain each step of my recovery.”

Poor baby. I feel his pain!

andrea Says:

this is the first time i have heard of panic or anxiety attacks….interesting.

tennismonger Says:

I am hopeful he will recover; there are precedents – both Connors & Agassi came back from potentially career-ending wrist surgery.

Good luck Delpo…get well soon & come back strong!

Sean Randall Says:

Totally crushing news.

To add to what tennismonger said, Clijsters also had a wrist concern. So there is hope for a full recovery and further Slam titles for DelPo.

Kimmi Says:

goodluck delpo

Anna Says:

Juan hasn’t been the same since the USO. This is a shame. Hope for a full and speedy recovery.

Dory Says:

There’s a lump in my throat. Now who will slay Nadal except RF and Soderling?

Huh Says:

The worst news in some time for tennis.


Has anyone on the ATP with a one handed backhand ever had a serious wrist injury? Just wondering. My theory is that with a one handed backhand you get an equal strengthening of both sides of the wrist so the balance minimizes the chance of injury. Players with two handed backhands put most of the stress on only one side of the wrist which is when they hit their forehand.

Players with two handed backhands that have had wrist injuries: Connors, Agassi, Clijsters, Mirza, Murray, Kiefer, Tsonga, Davydenko, Delpo.

Rotator cuff seems to be more of a problem with one handed backhands. Haas and Lendl come to mind as they both had shoulder surgery.

skeezerweezer Says:


Good observation on the two handed BH and wrist injury. You know your stuff :)

The rotator cuff injuries in my experience stems from more overhead/serve motion….

Never ran across one due to a ground stroke let alone a one handed BH. Not that it can’t happen. :)



That’s true, but the one handed topspin backhand also puts stress on the rotator cuff. One of the most basic exercises to strengthen your rotator cuff is the external rotation using a resistance band. It’s like hitting a one handed backhand while keeping your elbow stationary at your side.


skeezerweezer Says:


Well I understand the exercise, have seen it before for players with rotator cuff issues, but my point is does it cause it ( injured rotator cuff and one handed BH ). Now I have seen one handed BH players suffer BH issues as they cannot finish high due to the cuff issues, but like I said never saw an instance where it wasn’t the serve/overhead that was the original cause…..

Anyways, I trust your opinion, you seem to have some authority on the subject, and respect it. I just haven’t seen a rotator cuff in all my years ( too many ) caused by a one handed BH. :)

Back onto JDP, interesting link here on his type of injury:


and a quick video on his right handed pronation technique, although not uncommon, was the culprit.

Notice the right hand ( his injured wrist now ) is in a continental grip ( weak postion for a 2HBH, although non-dominant) and he pronates it as he hits through the ball ( very weak wrist position ). However, I am sure he is hitting 80-90 % with the left arm ( basically an opposite FH ). Funny how you still need that other arm to though :).

Now, the great thing about this 2 handed BH grip is allows you to hit the ball flatter when you want too, a great advantage with someone as tall as JDP, so it is hard to give up the grip adjustment…..

Anyways, JDP, get well soon! You’ll be missed!

Like you said, Agassi and Connors had similar injuries and if you go back and look at there grips and stoke through the ball it is similar along with some WTA ladies….

This is probably a really boring subject…..ha! Sorry gang…..


I agree Skeez that the serve puts more stress on the shoulder joint than the one handed topspin backhand.

Nice link on wrist injuries with tennis players. Here is the section that discusses the area that Delpo injured:

—–Extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) dysfunction—–
Montalvan et al (2006)(2) reported finding ECU dysfunction in 76% (male) and 45% (female) of players who sought medical advice for wrist injury. The ECU tendon passes behind the lower end of the ulna and runs through a bony groove between the head of the ulna and its articular groove. The tendon inserts on the internal process of the fifth metacarpal(PINKY FINGER). Its anatomy means that the ECU tendon comes under significant stress during pronation and supination, being tightly bound to the ulnar head. As the forearm moves from pronation to supination, the ECU tendon is pulled at 30 degrees from its position in the bony groove to still reach the base of the fifth metacarpal. It is this tensioning and angulation that causes injury to ECU in tennis players.


Mardy Fish is another guy who had wrist surgery and he also has a two-handed backhand. I’m still waiting for the name of a player with a one handed backhand who had a wrist injury.

margot Says:

No guys, it’s interesting discussion and explains why Andy M keeps getting wrist injuries. Cheers.

Jan Says:

Sorry about your wrist injury and surgery, Juan. Take care of yourself and get well soon. Looking forward to your return.

Lisa Farley Says:

Dr. Berger’s credentials… Juan’s physician

Richard A. Berger, M.D., Ph.D.

Orthopedic Surgery

Medical School
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Graduate School
Doctorate, Departments of Anatomy and Bioengineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Orthopedics, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA

Hand Surgery, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Diplomate, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery

Academic Rank
Professor of Orthopedics

Wrist and Distal Radio-Ulnar Joint Disease, Distal Upper Extremity Trauma, Upper Extremity Peripheral Nerve and Vascular Disease, Upper Extremity Arthritis

Professional Highlights
Chair, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 2005-2007
President, American Association for Hand Surgery, 2004
See a listing of publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of medicine.

See a description of research activities.

Medical Services
Learn about treatment of diseases and becoming a patient. Read more about medical services.

Nayif Says:

Delpooooo…I want to tell you that I am so sad for you….take care and see you soon Vs top10…
Nayif from Syria

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