Del Potro Calls Wrist “Perfect” in Loss to Rochus; Ferrer v. Tomic in KL
by Sean Randall | September 28th, 2010, 8:57 pm

The good news is Juan Martin Del Potro says his wrist is 100% healthy. The bad news – if you can even call it that – is that in first match back he lost earlier today to Olivier Rochus 7-6(7), 6-4 in the first round at Bangkok. ADHEREL

“The most important thing for today is my wrist – and it’s perfect. I hope to play five or six more tournaments between now and the end of the season,” said Del Potro who crushed 16 aces in his first pro tennis match since January 24. “It was a great moment for me being with the fans on centre court playing a match again. I felt very happy. I lost today but I have good things to take for the future.”

And indeed, it is good news for the tennis world.

Delpo’s “five or six” tournament run continues next week in Tokyo.

With Delpo out might Ernests Gulbis be the lone guy left to derail an almost-certain Rafael Nadal title on Sunday? The Latvian will play Rainer Schuettler in the second round tomorrow with an eye toward meeting the Spaniard on Saturday.

In Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, David Ferrer battles Bernard Tomic in maybe the most interesting men’s match of the day. Also in action are Mikhail Youhzny, Marcos Baghdatis and Nikolay Davydenko.

The upsets continued at the WTA stop in Tokyo Tuesday. No. 4 seed Sam Stosur was stunned by Julia Georges and Sveta Kuznetsova was eliminated by Andrea Petkovic. Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic also lost to Marion Bartoli.

Among the winners were Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Elena Dementieva and Victoria Azarenka. Tomorrow, Wozniacki plays Pavlychenkova, Azarenka gets Bartoli, Dementieva duels with Pennetta and French Open champion Francesca Schiavone meets the now-40 Kimiko Date Krumm.

You Might Like:
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Del Potro Returns Tuesday Against Rochus; Sharapova Krumm-bles
Juan Martin Del Potro to Undergo Wrist Surgery, Season Might Be Over
Juan Martin Del Potro Unlikely To Play French Open, Could A Third Wrist Surgery Be Ahead?
Juan Martin Del Potro: My Left Wrist Is Still Not 100%, But It’s Getting Better

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110 Comments for Del Potro Calls Wrist “Perfect” in Loss to Rochus; Ferrer v. Tomic in KL

Kimmi Says:

even though delpo lost today, the most important thing for me is he was able to play again. being away for 8 to 9 months is a very long time in prefessional tennis. It was a good performance with all things considered and it is a good platform upon which to build from.

I am almost certain he will grow from strength to strength as he gets in more match practice. Good luck delpo.

Daniel Craig Says:

yeah, good to have this guy back. now if he can only hit with nadal every day for the rest of the year, theoretically he should be fit to win 2016 olympics

Hypnos Says:

Rochus is a tough draw for someone how doesn’t have confidence in his game, since he makes you hit so many extra shots.

Let’s see how Del Potro does in the next few events.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Thats just fantastic news. I’ve been withholding hope on his return because a wrist surgery is so hard to come back from. Coming that close to winning against a solid player in Rochus, with good serving and no wrist or confidence problems… that bodes very well. I just hope JMDP doesnt overdo it in the next couple months. I think that he, Nole and Fed will be the ones to watch for in terms of derailing Rafa in the coming year; and I hope that Gulbis and perhaps Gasquet and Berdych can add themselves. Murray will still be in the mix, but a succesful return by JMDP knocks him down a peg.

zola Says:

I didn’t expect Delpo to win a tournament right after being back from injury. It is great that he is 100%. I think it will take a few tournament for him to get his form back. I think he is shooting for the AO, which is a realistic goal.

Kimberly Says:

tennis vagabond—why can’t you just hope for competitive tennis rather than a wish to “derail” a certain player (who of course if rafa). I never heard anyone wishing to “derail” Federer.

Kimberly Says:

what is up with davydenko-losing to adreeev, soon to be out of top ten and no world tour final if he keeps this up.

grendel Says:

“I never heard anyone wishing to “derail” Federer.” Oh, come on Kimberley. Not only did it happen all the time, it’s still happening, in the sense that some Nadal fans (not of course people like you) are wanting to see Fed’s face wiped thoroughly in the dust. Only complete humiliation will satisfy them.

I’d say that’s pretty natural (which doesn’t mean it’s nice). When someone is built up a lot, there is always going to be the tendency to want to pull him down. This seems to be the case in most walks of life, so far as I can see.

zola Says:


There are a few who attack Roger, but a lot (including some writers of the site), who attack Rafa. Non is very pleasant.

I know this is a bit old now, but for all Rafa/Roger fans and haters, this is a great clip to watch. If you can find the whole thing ( it is about 15 minutes), that is even much better.

Vulcan Says:

Errr, maybe there are people who have said negative things about Federer on this blog but I don’t think he has had to overcome the adversity that Nadal has had to overall. Federer for example was never booed at the US Open the way the Number 1 ranked player in the world Nadal was this year. Nor has he had to acquiesce to the moronic French the way Nadal has.

grendel Says:

Vulcan, I was thinking of this blog, actually. But you make a good point about live crowds. I think the difficulty for Nadal – if it is a difficulty – is that he has come after Federer. When one champion displaces another, this is bound to cause a lot of upset, especially a champion who was apparently as popular as Federer has been.

Federer was fortunate in that the champion he displaced (Sampras) had already retired. It is not inconceivable that one day, someone will challenge, and overtake, Nadal. That player may suffer the same hostility from some sections of the crowd that Nadal has had to endure.

zola Says:

when was Rafa booed at the US Open? I thought he was very well received. In the final people were chanting his name.

Vulcan Says:


Remember this is New York where emotions turn on a dime…and the same place where Marcos Baghdatis was booed against Agassi because he was cramping.(the guy was basically booed for fighting on valiantly – asinine to say the least). I know for a fact Nadal was briefly booed during one of his matches where if I recall he took a somewhat unexpected medical timeout or something along those lines…I don’t remember the exact circumstances or which match it was but I’m positive he was briefly booed.

Vulcan Says:

OK, it was when he went to change rackets against Youzhny…heres the reference:

jane Says:

Wow – quite the battle for Ernie today, but he came through! Contador – hope you’re smiling.

Tennis Vagabond, I think Murray matches up with Rafa quite well. His H2H is 4-8 so they’ve played less than Nole and Rafa (7-15) and Fed and Rafa (7-14). But it’s worth noting that the higher percentage of Fed and Nole’s losses to Rafa have been on clay in the later stages of tournaments (semis and finals) so that affects their standing. Andy M has played Rafa on clay twice only, whereas Nole’s played him 9 times on that surface (accounting for 9 losses) and Fed’s played him 12 times on that surface (accounting for 10 losses; Fed has 2 wins in twelve tries on clay).

We know Rafa is the current KING of clay, so I’m interested to see if anyone can challenge him on that surface. (Kimberly not because I want to see him “derailed” but because he’s so dominant on that surface one wonders who will be able to cause the upset).

Delpo has a 3-4 H2H with Rafa, all wins coming on hard courts (like Nole’s 7 wins). They’ve played on clay only once and Rafa beat him handily in straights (RG 07).

I don’t see anyone stopping Rafa at RG. At Wimbledon, Roddick or Murray, and of course Fed, have a shot.

But how he makes out on hard courts will really tell how dominant Rafa will be over the next few years, I would think.

jane Says:

For the most part, I hate when crowds boo players, especially for something as ridiculous as changing a racquet!!

Vulcan Says:

Grendel, your theory about why Federer may have had a smoother path seems reasonable. But I think Federer was a bit more mature and media savvy then Nadal was at his age…not to say that Rafa is overly awkward…I just think it’s perhaps going to take him a bit longer to figure things out (on his own without the help of his family) then it did for Federer. He’s starting to catch a little bit of flack for his repetitive responses to the media…responses which I think are brilliant in that they are deliberately simplistic and neutral. Nadal seems to be able to plow through adversity like no other player has before. The only concern I would have is that his mental toughness might stem from his being oblivious to the adversity he faces and that when reality eventually dawns on him he will lose a bit of an edge…then again maybe hes alot more savvy and mature than that.

madmax Says:

grendel Says:
“I never heard anyone wishing to “derail” Federer.” Oh, come on Kimberley. Not only did it happen all the time, it’s still happening, in the sense that some Nadal fans (not of course people like you) are wanting to see Fed’s face wiped thoroughly in the dust. Only complete humiliation will satisfy them.

I’d say that’s pretty natural (which doesn’t mean it’s nice). When someone is built up a lot, there is always going to be the tendency to want to pull him down. This seems to be the case in most walks of life, so far as I can see.

September 29th, 2010 at 11:10 am

grendel I agree with you here.

Your second one – at 11.51am, ‘especially a champion who was apparently as popular as Federer has been’.

It’s pretty clear that this statement is in the past tense. grendel, federer is STILL popular. That hasn’t changed. A reminder that Federer is still here, at no. 3 and will be competing in his 9th consecutive WTF at the O2 in November.

Federer has always been the favourite at roland garros in terms of the french crowd – someone here wrote a very eloquent post last year about the reasons why – federer speaking in french, his manners on court, etc. but the parisian crowd (as you know) are not pleasant to a lot of players, in fact they are downright rude – this is what happens in the city.

grendel – will you be there? (at the O2)?

Back to the original blog – it’s such great news that delpo is back. I dont think anyone expected him to win, but the fact that he feels great and has been able to put his tennis hand to the test, will only improve his confidence.

Vulcan Says:

Rafa and hard courts is more of a question mark now than it ever was before. This US Open title comes after suffering numerous crushing hard court defeats by the likes of players like DP, Davydenko, Cilic, and Djokovic…I’m still trying to figure out how he managed to win the US Open after losing only one set. If he can simply pull aces out of his sleeve the way he did with the unveiling of his faster serve his future results are going to be very interesting indeed.

kimberly Says:

It seems to me rafa gets abnormal attention from fans and haters alike. And I really don’t recall people rooting for somebody to derail fed back in his dominant days. I certainly don’t recall people ever rooting against any other player the way they root against rafa currently. Call me paranoid.

Does anyone actively root against fed, nole or murray (other than my husband w murray)? In that they root against them in every match no matter who they play? I don’t see it.

And rafa is a nice guy. Certainly humble and I think well liked by the other players. Part of the reason I think for his boring reptitive pressers is his english isn’t so great.

kimberly Says:

My insight in living and having two children with a person who actively roots against rafa:

My husband loves fed. Loves his playing style interviews etc. As a former ncaa player however his game style is most comparable to soderling (his second fav).

Why he doesn’t like rafa: feels rafa wins by making his opponents play bad, mental games with opponents, attempts at intimdating opponents with excessive fist pumping and jumps etc, not a great fan of spain in general, is a lousy clay courter himself so always resents clay courters.false humility and sore general, like zinaldo I think, he prefers attacking powerful tennis as that is his personal style as well.

Things he concedes and almost admires:
Gracious champion
Fighting spirit
Good self control (no broken rackets)
Good respect for officials
Willingness to change improve and adapt.

Murray he feels is a vile individual—cursing screaming, flexing muscles.

And roddick the umpire tantrums have turned him off.

Funny that he liked safin and goran though.

grendel Says:

Kimberley, I can assure you, when Fed was starting his time of dominance, there was a tremendous degree of hostility shown to him by certain Sampras fans – especially on those poster boards on And they welcomed the advent of Nadal, hoping he’d spoil the party for Federer. b.t.w., I’ve responded to you about Sharapova, and I’d be interested to know what you think. It is indeed a bit mysterious.

margot – I’ve retracted my remarks on Ed Miliband on the thread where I initially made them, because I realised after that I was wrong.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Wow, little sensitive, yeah? I’m a fan of Rafa. I wish him great success. But I’m a fan of tennis and find the sport interesting when I can see valid contenders. Are we not allowed to talk of the potential for challengers to the #1 player without offending? Should each post simply state, “Rafa is #1 and will be forever. I hope no player even takes the court against him this year, out of fear of the shellacking sure to be received.”?
OK, that will be my next post.
Back to reality… this article is abour DelPotro’s comeback, and by inference, his viability as a contender. Given Rafa is a fairly dominant #1 right now, the real question is absolutely whether DelPotro has the potential to derail that dominance. That is a fairly obvious direction to go in based on the article topic.

Sean Randall Says:

Well, I’m glad to have Delpo back for the very reason that he can and will beat Rafa and Roger when he returns to 100%.

You could make a case that Delpo’s “best” is better than anyone else’s. Rafa’s harder serve makes that debate more interesting, otherwise JMDP’s “max” level I think is the best in the game.

I just hope he’ll be back in form for Australia.

wheeler Says:

Bernard Tomic is quite a talented player.

Kimberly Says:

Sean–I like Delpo but do you think you are glofiying him a little in absentia–he’s won 1 GS and zero masters. He lost in the 2nd round of wimby 2009 in his peak. Is he so much better than Murray?

killerc Says:

sean i agree with you. When Delpo is firing all cylinders this guy is a tennis tidal wave taking out civilizations! Its great seeing someone different from the Spaniard and Swiss guy winning at the big ones. All in all I like seeing diversity in tennis, I imagine others do too!

jane Says:

“JMDP’s “max” level I think is the best in the game.”

Along with Kimberly, I am not sure about this yet. Too soon to tell, imo.

Murray is 5-1 over Delpo, with 4 of those wins coming in 2009.

Djoko is 3-0 over Delpo, with wins in 07, 08 and 09 on clay in straights.

Fed is 6-2 over Delpo, with Delpo getting his only 2 wins at the end of last year.

Nadal is 4-3 over Delpo, with all 3 of Delpo’s wins coming at the end of last year.

So if at the end of 2009, we were seeing Delpo’s peak, then perhaps he will step up and get to the pinnacle. It’s definitely possible; he has the mind and the power for it.

But to say at his best, he’s the best there is in tennis already? I am not sure.

If you narrow that to hardcourt…maybe? But still, it’s difficult to say. We’ll know more next year.

Anna Says:

Kimberly – Chin up girl. I think it’s valiant of you to be a Rafa fan on the net and the home front as well. Some fans will definitely take you out of your comfort zone from time to time, but still there’s alot to learn and maybe share. If you feel a little overwhelmed there are a ton of sights to visit. This sight tends to be Roger heavy, while other sights are just the opposite, and others yet are strictly Rafa day and night. Just remember it’s all just talk and nothing to do with the real world. Rafa won three majors this year in spite of all the trash talk on the blogs.

zola Says:

I think this is Sean’s hope for someone to beat Rafa! He never made wished like that when Federer was number 1!

I agree with Kimberly. To say Delpo is better than Federer or RAfa, he needs to have at least 10 GS titles and more than 18 MS titles. He is only one year younger than Rafa. At his age RAfa had at least 6 GS titles. So , I should say, please not so fast!

Delpo is tall and strong and has a very explosive forehand. But the same forehand resulted in an injury leading to a 9-month absence. The first thing we have to see is his forehand.

Before giving Delpo the GOAT status ( with only one slam title!), let him establish himself as a better player than Murray and Djoko. We can talk about Delpo being than Rafa and Fed when he becomes number three in the world!

zola Says:

Delpo has one GS title and has played in only one final. Djoko has played three finals and won one. Murray has played two.

Delpo is a great player. But let his racquet do the talking for him.

Sean Randall Says:

Kimberly, how many Slams does Murray have?

Zola, add in Roger and then you’d be right. This is not just about Rafa.

I’m not saying DelPo will ever eclipse Fed’s or Rafa’s Slam totals – that will not happen. But I think when he’s at his very best I think he beats everyone else’s best, with maybe the lone exception maybe being Nadal.

What Delpo brings is a trifecta of raw power – serve, forehand, backhand. In the last 20 years Safin is probably the only other guy that was so powerful off all three strokes – is there anyone else? But Delpo can hit it harder than Marat.

And unlike other guys who can hit the ball hard – Gulbis, Gonzalez – Delpo has proven that he can finish off top players on the big stage.

That’s what is so tantalizing about the guy.

Kimmi Says:

delpo is younger than the likes of murray, djoko nadal etc. The year he won the USO was when he was starting to reach his potential imo. it was only that year at RG when he took federer at the brink..when everybody saw this guy is arriving.

I remember the beginning of 09 at the AO (the same year he won the USO btw)..he got a beat down from fed but by the end of that year he was hanging with top guys shot to shot.

Its very unfortunately that he got humpered by a serious injury. If delpo was OK healthwise, continuing to play this year, he would have gotten better than even the year he won the USO imo.

oliver Says:

Well done Rochus!!!

Kimberly Says:

Ok Sean, he has one more GS than Murray. But Murray has 5 masters and several masters finals. And more deep runs in Grand Slams. Del Potro has played one masters final (lost to murray). Prior to his peak he lost 2nd round @ wimby(easily I recall to Hewitt). And following the USO in Bangkok he lost to number 250 something in the world. I’m not saying the guy is not good and can’t beat top players including Nadal. But I think these players can beat him as easily as he can beat them. I think at his peak he still has to make a claim over Murray and Djoko. They are more experienced. I just feel that he was somewhat glorified in absentia and as I believe either Jane or Zola said, he still has to prove himself. Has he ever played Soda and Berdy?

steve-o Says:

Note to all: I used to go by “steve”, but since I have observed others using that handle, I have changed mine.

Nadal with his supposedly “career-threatening” injuries, of which so much hue and cry has been made, has never been absent from the tour for more than a couple months in a row, if I’m not mistaken. Yet every time he claims even the slightest injury, everyone–media, fans, everyone–is required to get all KNEE DRAMA and freak out about “poor little Rafa” and cry endless tears of pity. And if you don’t do the same, why, you’re a just a big, heartless meanie.

Del Potro was out for nearly an entire season recovering from injury and fell to #36. No one cries “poor little DelPo” and goes around telling everyone that they need to shed tears of pity for him, but then again maybe that’s because he doesn’t ask for it the way a certain Spaniard does, choosing to bear his lot like a man, with dignity and maturity, instead of parading his injuries in everyone’s face and sucking everyone up into his private KNEE DRAMA.

When Nadal was out for a couple months people were wringing their hands and moaning that a then six-time GS champ might not win a seventh for a while. Del Potro misses an entire frickin’ season after winning only one major and the response is to scoff and write him off as a flash in the pan, a fluke, and question whether he has the stuff.

Where are all the people worrying about his career, about whether his injuries will keep him from winning another Grand Slam? After all his career is much less developed than Nadal’s was last year. He had just broken through and won his first major in spectacular fashion. Then he missed an entire season. That’s a huge setback, certainly bigger than any Nadal ever faced. And yet we’re supposed to cry more for the richer man than for the poorer. Go figure.

Del Potro is a player of quality, with a champion’s spirit. One thing he’s got that neither Djokovic nor Murray have: balls, and he proved it by dispatching Federer and Nadal back-to-back in a Grand Slam. He will keep going for that huge forehand until the last point is finished. And I hope he gets back to his peak very soon.

jane Says:

Kimmi, you make good points; true, Delpo is younger, and true, we started to see his very best only at the end of 2009. But his results even then were spotty. He didn’t do great at Wimbledon, losing early, and in the lead up to the USO, he lost the finals in Canada to Murray, and pulled out of Cincy citing fatigue. And then he did poorly at all events after the USO and leading up to the WTF, where he did well again. Maybe he just likes the big stage?

Judging by that inconsistency, however, is it possible that when you say this – “If delpo was OK healthwise, continuing to play this year, he would have gotten better than even the year he won the USO imo” – that maybe he wouldn’t have just gone “up” and “up” and gotten better?

In other words, it may well be that, on the contrary, he’d’ve felt the pressures that come after after winning his first slam. It may well be that he has a tendency towards inconsistent results and that would’ve continued this year? I have no idea if either of those statements are true, as we can only speculate how he would’ve done this year without the injury. And while I am not saying he is another Tsonga, I remember when Tsonga got to the Final of the AO in 2008, *big things* were predicted for him, but he’s never been able to really break through, in part because he has a tendency to be injured.Could Delpo have that same injury issue? We don’t really know but he’s had back issues and now the wrist.

There’s NO DOUBT that Delpo is a “tantalizing” prospect, to use Sean’s great word choice, but I just think we need to wait and see. Sean makes valid comparisons to Safin, but Safin struggled to win his second slam. Delpo may be different than Marat, as he seems to be a more dedicated and hungry type of character, more focused.

Still, it’s a waiting game, and to quote Tom Petty, “the waiting is the hardest part.”

jane Says:

Oops Kimberly, I just realized my first paragraph repeats what you said – sorry! And just so you know, Delpo is 2-1 over both Soda and Berdy.

grendel Says:

All this talk about delPo being the best being premature – Zola even, bizarrely, attempts mockery by bringing up GOAT – misses the point. Utterly. Of course he’s not the best.

What people see in del Potro is potential. He has an amazingly ferocious game, he can keep it up for long periods, and he has self-belief. Did anyone believe for one split nano-second that Berdych thought he could beat Nadal at Wimbledon? Even the gallant Djokovic didn’t really believe, not when it came down to it.

Sean Randall has it exactly right – or almost. Federer is now kind of out of the picture, and it’s no big deal any longer for the top boys to beat him. They expect to.

But nobody expects to beat Nadal – except, possibly, del Potro, or at least that was true before the injury. Only the King’s men (understandably) like endless coronations. For the rest of us, the prospect of some genuine competition is a welcome one. And it will be, too, for the more adventurous Nadalites – including Nadal himself.

contador Says:

i am smiling but cautiously happy about that EG win – it was another shaky performance. i streamed a little while getting ready for work this morning. would have hoped he’d take care of rainy in 2 sets.

the only other match i saw ( stayed up to stream ) was youz / dolgo. when i woke up the EG match was in the 2nd set. both gulbis and dolgo get too impatient ( maybe nervous ) on key points and make mistakes and bad decisions. i snuck in a bit of streaming the de bakker / brands match from work too and will put de bakker in the same boat with gulbis and dolgo. all are about the same age – still lots of room to improve or exit stage left. ???

watching ernie, dolgo and de bakker struggle makes delpo’s achievements and mental cool under pressure all the more impressive.

a match i slept through was raonic /stakhovsky. can you believe raonic? wow – 3 setter v a tricky player and the young canadian won! go raonic!

about delpo – he actually injured his wrist in miami 09 and played a great season, winning a slam in the pain box. we haven’t seen the best of delpo yet, by far. imo, he’s just getting started. he suffered huge set back and had to recover but like rafa, i think delpo will adapt to spare his body, find the right treatments and doctors and go forward improving. maybe he is not the slam champion trophy collector that roger and rafa are but he has the mentality – loves tennis, missed being on tour, loves the challenge of beating players older and ranked higher than himself since he began playing ( according to a early coach in tandil. )

delpo will get to #1 and win another slam or two is what i believe. and he definitly adds excitement to the tour.

i agree with sean’s comments on delpo. but i hope he’ll be listening to his body carefully and maybe take longer than AO 2011 to be in top form. would be great if he was in form by AO but…

there are a lot of interesting stories in tennis not having to do with rafa or roger, imo. ( not that both aren’t still to be celebrated ) rafa isn’t done with his domination and roger hasn’t left the house – it’s a bonus when roger plays, win or lose. who knows how far rafa will go and what roger may yet do?

zola Says:

I did not attempt “mockery” of GOAT. It is strange to me to deem someone “the best” so prematurely when there is a player ( or maybe two) who have set records one after another.

May I ask you to kindly ,leave me out of your posts from now on? I do not need to explain myself to you after each and every post.

jane Says:

grendel, personally I am not questioning Delpo’s potential (nor did I think zola or Kimberly were) but only that Sean had said that ““JMDP’s “max” level I think is the best in the game,” which, imo, remains to be seen. I think it needs a little more evidence to be borne out. We haven’t seen enough of Delpo’s “max” level to know. That’s all. It’s also worth thinking about how long, how often, and on what surfaces he can sustain that “max” level.

jane Says:

contador, most definitely Delpo’s demeanour will be, I suspect, one of his greatest weapons. Yes, he has that trifecta of power, but it’s that he can remain so “cool and calm” – unlike, say, Ernie : / – that makes Delpo such a strong player. In that sense, that belief sense, he may have a leg up on some of the competition. But I am sticking with he “may have” before I see more.

steve-o Says:

@jane: Del Potro is not like Tsonga. Tsonga reached a GS final by beating Nadal but lost to Djokovic.

Del Potro not only beat Nadal in the semis, but twice came back from a set down against Federer in a Grand Slam final. Not even Nadal has done that.

People don’t seem to realize that means that he’s as tough mentally as anyone. Mental strength is the biggest difference between someone like Berdych and a Grand Slam. It’s even the difference between Del Potro and Djokovic.

And he welcomes pressure: he said he enjoyed hearing the cheers of the Argentinian fans and he enjoyed being the favorite. I don’t think he’s going to have too many problems dealing with expectations. Maybe if he wins seven or eight majors, then it will start to get to him, but that’s not going to happen for a long time (if ever).

His strength is the best-of-five format, as we saw both at USO last year and at AO this year vs. Blake.

Lleyton Hewitt once described Del Potro as a “smokey”. I’m not sure what that particular piece of Aussie slang means (anyone know?) but I like the sound of it. Maybe it means that he’s slow-burning: takes a while to get going, but once he’s going, it’s hard to beat him.

grendel Says:

Zola – “I did not attempt “mockery” of GOAT”. Why bring it up, then, when it’s so utterly inappropriate? “It is strange to me to deem someone “the best” so prematurely when there is a player ( or maybe two) who have set records one after another.” The whole point of my post is that this misses the point completely. He is not “deemed the best”. But he is deemed to be capable of threatening the best on the big occasion – that’s what makes him so exciting a prospect, because at the moment, nobody else looks like offering serious competition. Naturally this could change, Murray and Djokovic could improve, and so on.

“May I ask you to kindly ,leave me out of your posts from now on? I do not need to explain myself to you after each and every post.”

Well, don’t then. But if you say something rather silly on a public forum, you can’t necessarily expect to get away with it. And by the way, of late it has been you who has been picking me up, and generally misunderstanding, too. I thought I’d shown some restraint – but, I guess, all in the eye of the beholder, etc.

kimberly Says:

I think he’s a great player who could take it to the next level. But I still hold that he has been glorified in absentia. He was a second tier player up til the us open win. We will see what he is for real in 2011.

But remeber when nole won AO 08 it seemed he would have a long series of GS by now. And he can beat rafa and roger as well. But they can also beat him. I just think del potro needs one year of playing at the top level before we see where he falls. Will he be the next big thing? Maybe! One slam wonder? Maybe also.

Maybe I’m not making sense. I know what I’m thinking but not saying it very well.
Look at murray. We all predict him to win slam after slam aand my bracket is aching from all of the damage he has done. Maybe delpo will bring it. But I feel in his absence he has been idolized for something that has not happened yet. Maybe it will maybe it won’t.

zola Says:


Read this again and see if what I wrote was silly or not:

Sean wrote:
***You could make a case that Delpo’s “best” is better than anyone else’s.***

My question was: “based on what”? There is no doubt that Delpo has potential. So do Murray and Djoko. He needs to convert this potential to some results and then we can say “his best is better than everyone else”!

contador Says:

jane – LOL! ernie :/

in the little i watched of the match, first he got a warning, then he got a point penalty in a key moment by smashing a racket. bad bad boy – but entertaining to start my day.

he makes life on court far more difficult for himself than necessary. still hoping he figures out how to harness that passion like federer did. ernie gives such classic candid and funny interviews, is fun watching and he’ll be a favorite of mine no matter if he goes down in flames!!

kimberly Says:

Contador–and go down in flames he does especially when kimberli25 picks him. When I don’t of course, is when he finally uses some of that amazing talent.

zola Says:

I understand that you are excited about a new star in the arena. But raw power is not everything. Nalbandian had a great forenamd, backhand, serve, …but that “potential” never materialized. If you use Safin as an example, then that is your proof too. Berdych, Soderling,…as well.

If delpo’s best is better than everybody else’s, then we should see the results. I like delpo and have no problem with him, but I think you should wait a bit before calling him “the best”.

zola Says:


**And by the way, of late it has been you who has been picking me up, and generally misunderstanding, too. I thought I’d shown some restraint – but, I guess, all in the eye of the beholder, etc.**

when did that happen?
I have no intention of “picking” on you. You are not the reason I post here!

zola Says:

With Delpo out might Ernests Gulbis be the lone guy left to derail an almost-certain Rafael Nadal title on Sunday? The Latvian will play Rainer Schuettler in the second round tomorrow with an eye toward meeting the Spaniard on Saturday.

Gulbis is a streaky player. I like him a lot, but like Monfils I never know what to expect!

I think people overlook Verdasco. I think he will be hungry to win.

grendel Says:

What was silly was the GOAT allusion. What Sean wrote, especially in the quote you give, was fine, imo – if I have interpreted him right. I do NOT read him to suggest that delPotro is the best player around, or anything like that.

He makes a tentative suggestion, almost inviting disagreement (“you could make a case…”) that at his best, del Potro can play at a higher level than anyone else. This is certainly a debateable proposition, to say the least (hence Sean’s caution) – but it is also not outlandish.

Because, for instance, the “at his best” is obviously qualifying. Because how often does delPo play at his best? The whole point about the greats – Federer, Nadal and others – is that they could play at their best or near best for long stretches. Del Potro is nowhere near this level yet.

But the point is, it is conceivable that he could be. That is why he is so exciting. And that is what, I believe, Sean was getting at, what people like Kimmi and me and others believe and so on. The kind of claims you are attributing to us are largely fantasy.

kimberly Says:

Grendel—and I’m not attributing fantasy claims. It is my OPINION that delpo has been glorified in absentia. It was my opinion before sean wrote that post. His post simply stated what I already felt was going on so I responded in kind.

And not just because I want nadal to win win and win (I admit I want that). But also because there are other players that can challenge rafa and roger that I feel have performed as well or better on the tour. But suddenly delpo is the end all be all. He might be. But I feel he has yet to prove it.

Soderlings A+ game can beat rafa. Just like rafa’s A plus game can beat soda. Sodas A plus game can beat berdych.

What if fed had cloed out that match. What would delpo bee then. Certainly less than nole and murray.

Ben Pronin Says:

I tend to agree with Sean. But I think Murray and Djokovic should be factored in. As always, tennis is a game of match ups. We know what Federer and Nadal are capable of at their best, and we’ve gotten glimpses of Murray, Djokovic, and Del Potro’s best and how far that can take them, too. Safin is an interesting comparison to Del Potro, with slight differences (Safin was a better mover in his prime).

But, like Safin, there are ways to break down Del Potro. And Djokovic and Murray are both good at this. Murray can do to Del Potro what Santoro did to Safin, junk ball him and take away the rhythm that would allow him to blast winners at will. However, let’s not forget these 2 have never played in a slam. Murray has a pretty good, if not great, record over all the guys who’ve beaten him at slams over the past few years, including even Federer. And as important as Masters are, it’s indisputable that everyone cares a lot more about the slams (except maybe Murray?).

As for Djokovic, the guy is extremely solid, to say the least. And he’s not particularly bothered by power hitters. He can counter punch with the best of them but he also likes to be aggressive. A good combination against a guy with limited movement. I’m sure Del Potro will get at least a few wins over Djokovic in the future, but I think Djokovic will be able to hold the edge for the most part.

Federer and Nadal can both be broken down when facing power hitters. And even thought Berdych and Soderling are some of the best, they’re no Del Potro. They don’t have the mindset. Del Potro idolizes Federer, and he aspires to dominate in the same fashion. While that might not happen, for a number of reasons, he’s going to push himself. Berdych and Soderling are late bloomers and bad habits die hard.

Still, Federer has shown that he can still handle the power players and I’m sure Del Potro isn’t going to completely own him from this point on. And Nadal is still the most consistent guy out there, any lulls and he’s going to pounce. Let’s remember how poorly he played in Miami and it still took a 3rd set tiebreaker for Del Potro to win it.

Having said that, I’m very excited to see Del Potro back and, while steve-o makes a good point that no one’s been overly concerned, I haven’t felt the need to be. I think Del Potro will regain his form in at least a few months and he will win more slams.

grendel Says:

“What if fed had cloed out that match?” Ah, what if Cleopatra’s nose had been a little bit longer? Then, Caesar wouldn’t have fallen in love, etc, etc. But the fact is, Cleopatra’s nose WASN’T a little bit longer. That’s just how it was. And Fed didn’t close out, and didn’t remotely look like doing so.

I think you nearly have a good point, Kimberley – in that a certain amount of “glorification”, or wishful thinking, has been going on. “I feel he has yet to prove it”. Absolutely.

But in my opinion, people are tantalised by the thought that Del Potro MIGHT offer a challenge to a player who at the moment looks boringly unbeatable (not boringly to Nadalites,of course).

You say:”Soderlings A+ game can beat rafa”. I don’t think so, not unless Nadal is at less than his best, and that is frankly inconceivable in the latter stages of a grand slam. That is why Nadal is the great player he is – you can rely upon him to play at his best when it counts.

The idea that del Potro has it in him to dent this “invincibility” may well be grasping at straws, time will tell. But you can’t blame us non-Nadalites for at least contemplating the possibility, since there is nobody else. Murray and Djokovic have the talent, as we all know, but only del Potro has the champion’s mentality.

grendel Says:

Zola – “I have no intention of “picking” on you. You are not the reason I post here!” I didn’t say picking “on” me – I said picking me “up”, which is quite different, and simply means that you made reference to certain comments of mine.

And as for me “not being the reason you post here!”, you do come up with some extraordinary stuff, Zola. How could anyone conceivably imagine you were, or for that matter think I might think that? (shakes his head in bafflement).

Thomas Says:

You know,I actually agree with Sean. I think Del Potros highest level is better than anyone elses on hard courts. It’s a real shame he got injured in the fall indoor season last year,otherwise we could have seed if he could have consistently played at that level. The other reason why he is so tough is because unlike other players who can serve huge and hit big off both wings, court coverage is no weakness for him.(this is unlike soderling,who wears lead boots when he plays tennis) On another note,I actually think that JMDP might make a serious run in Australia. In 04,Safin was coming off a long layoff due to a year long wrist injury(similar to the injury delpo had) and he made his way to the final without anyone noticing. When JMDP comes to Oz,there isnt go to be much pressure on him as no one would expect much from him,so he could use that to his advantage.

Anna Says:

That’s an interesting thought Kimberley. I mean DelPo was a threat on any given day to the top guys, but sooo inconsistant. Those who think he’s the next best thing to ice cream shouldn’t hold their breath because more than likely it will be awhile before he reaches the level of play that marked him the months before the USO, and that’s if everything goes well. If his best surface is hard court it will probably be this time next year before we really know what he’s capable of. He seems like a kid with a big heart for tennis and life so I hope he can make it happen.

jane Says:

Ben ” However, let’s not forget these 2 have never played in a slam. ”
If you mean Murray and Delpo, yes they have. They played at the USO in 2008 and Murray won. It was an exciting encounter.

Thomas Says:

i agree for the most part. I think that Del Potro has access to a little more power than Safin,but safin was the better mover and had more touch at the net. I disagree slightly with Djokovic. I have seen big hitters like Tsonga cause him problems by serving huge,and simply keeping him pinned behind the baseline and they eventually run him ragged. Soderling did something similar to djokovic in last years WTF. Btw,Murray is good at dealing with big hitters,but his H2H,with soderling is 2-2.(soderling clubbed him in Indian Wells this year) Davydenko is another guy that deals with big hitters well,but he seems to have more problems with soderling than del potro. Do you know why murray and davydenko have more problems with soderling? I also think delpo will win more slams in the future.

Mindy Says:


So here we have yet another self-appointed arbiter of just who is truly a champion and possesses all of the qualities one would expect from a champion! No bias from you at all! Just another rabid Rafa hater spewing more venom and filth about a guy who just won the career grand slam and three straight majors.

I don’t recall anyone, especially on this lovely site, expressing concern or sympathy for Rafa’s plight when he was out due to another bout of tendinitis. As a matter of face, I specifically remember many writing Rafa’s obituary rather gleefully after he had to retire with another knee injury in the quarterfinals against Murray at this year’s AO. Yes, Rafa was washed up, finished, done, knees ruined. He would become just a memory and the world could now move forward, still on its axis, because Rafa would be no more.

But wait! What happened? Oh my goodness, Rafa had the unmitigated gall to actually make a brilliant comeback! Yikes! What were the haters to do? Why, do what they do best, of course. Spread more lies and trash this great champion with even more vengeance.

I have a newsflash for you! No one, not his fans and certainly not Rafa himself, ever expected or asked for sympathy. However, it was charming of you to demean his knee tendinitis. Would it make you feel better to know that this condition is progressive and incurable? No, I guess not, because it just isn’t as serious as Delpo’s wrist injury! Now there is the true champion who deserves all the sympathy, good wishes and kindness that one can spare. After all, he has one thing going for him above all others – he is NOT Rafa! Yes, that will definitely work in his favor.

Would it make you feel better to know that I wished Delpo well in his recovery? I think not, because after all, I am a Rafa fan and must be hated as much as Rafa. It is nice to know that Rafa’s injury wasn’t serious enough for you. Now that makes sense, if you are someone who obsessively hates him. It’s sad to realize that you don’t think Delpo was given enough attention.

I have another bit of information for you – the truth is that you wouldn’t know a great champion if you fell over him! Let Delpo have his chance to prove himself and win. By all means! As far as Delpo and Rafa meeting – I say bring it on! I hope it happens when Delpo is back in peak form, so that there will be no excuses from his fans. How many times have Rafa fans been reminded that we always make excuses for him? It’s an incessant refrain here. One can make excuses for anyone, cry for anyone who is injured, shed buckets of tears, but when it comes to Rafa, pure unadulterated hatred is the order of the day. Maybe it will comfort you to know that Rafa’s chronic knee tendinitis will ultimately end his career, but you will go on hating him, of that I am certain.


Don’t be too quick to state unequivocally that Delpo will beat Rafa! We will see about that.

jane Says:

steve-o, my comparison to Tsonga explicitly stated “I am not saying Delpo is another Tsonga.” My points were that (a) big things were also predicted of Tsonga (mind you Delpo’s already won a slam), and (b) that like Tsonga Delpo has shown that he may (?) be prone to injury. I think most people agree with you and have stated that Delpo’s mental strength is exceptional, or seems to be so far.

jane Says:

However, steve-o, I disagree that Djokovic and Murray don’t have “balls”. Djoko has taken out Fed at two slams – the USO this year, same place Delpo took him out last year. He has a tougher time with Rafa, but he has had some hard court wins over him. I’d hasten to guess that if Djoko played Rafa in last year’s USO he might’ve or could’ve won too because Rafa was injured. There is no doubt Rafa had an abdominal injury at the USO last year. And Murray has beaten Rafa at the AO and the USO; he just hasn’t beaten Fed in a slam yet. Basically, Murray, Djoko and Delpo all have 2 wins over Rafa and/or Fed at the slams. To claim that Nole and Murray have no balls seems overblown in light of their records.

Ben Pronin Says:

Jane, wow, thanks for that clarification. I don’t know how I forgot that. Well, two things about that match: 1) Del Potro had a pretty long summer winning 4 straight tournaments and a few other good results. 2) Murray was playing incredibly aggressive, for the most part, throughout that USO (unlike the last 2 years) and he was more fit than Del Potro (who did have a tough 5 setter against Simon in the previous round, I believe).

Soderling’s only win over Djokovic came after Djokovic had a long fall season, and still Djokovic had to mentally collapse for Soderling to secure the win. I think Tsonga is in the same category as Roddick when it comes to Djokovic. He has this unexplainable mental block against these guys where he really lets them control the tempos and outcomes of the matches. Power players can trouble anyone on their day, but a power game doesn’t match up with Djokovic’s in a straight forward “oh that’s a really bad match-up for him” kind of way. Generally speaking, with Djokovic, it’s almost always “oh Djokovic has trouble with this player because of some mental problem with Djokovic’s head”.

grendel Says:

“To claim that Nole and Murray have no balls seems overblown in light of their records.” (jane)
More than overblown, it’s obviously nuts. On the other hand, they can mysteriously fade away, and they are inconsistent in demonstrating valour.

That’s to judge them by the very highest standards. Del Potro gives the impression that, where mental strength is concerned, he belongs in the upper echelon. To repeat: of course you can’t dogmatically state this, it is certainly premature. But this is the impression he gives. That’s all most of us (I think) are really saying. It remains to be seen whether this impression is borne out.

jane Says:

“More than overblown, it’s obviously nuts. ” – LOL grendel, and touche.

I agree on the impressions and remains to be seen factors. As for Nole and Murray being inconsistent in demonstrating valour, okay, but the fact of the matter is that the two of them have been at the very top behind Fed and Rafa longer than Delpo at this point, and both of them have more titles, Djoko including a slam, so I see no reason to call their “balls” into question is all.

Sean Randall is nothing if not a great debate starter. Mostly i find this Delpo discussion very interesting – lots of good thoughts and opinions here.

grendel Says:

“They played at the USO in 2008 and Murray won. It was an exciting encounter.”

jane, the reason it was exciting, as I recall, is that Murray was winning quite easily (del Potro was indeed exhausted – Ben is quite right, it wasn’t just a 5 setter with Simon, either, but tough matches with Bolleli and Cannas, not to mention winning tourney after tourney) – and suddenly out of nowhere, del Potro came back. The man was just about out on his feet, anyone could see that, and yet amazingly he staged a fightback. Of course, he couldn’t sustain it.

I think also when Murray beat delPo at Montreal, delPotro had shot his bolt – exhausting matches with Nadal and Roddick, and he withdrew from Cincy on grounds of fatigue. I’m not trying to make excuses for delPo – but Thomas, for example, asked why Murray had more trouble with Sod than the Argentinian, and I think that’s misleading – for the reasons given. I didn’t see the |Madrid match where delPo beat Murray, but so far as I know,Murray hasn’t yet faced delPo at his best. Be interesting to see how a future encounter goes.

Sean Randall Says:

steve-o, unfortunately over the next 6-10 years Delpo’s going to provide us with more than enough “injury drama”. To put it simply, the guy is fragile! Hopefully that will change.

And we’ll surely have another Nadal knee soap opera, you can count on that.

That said, Fed will have more back flare ups, Murray will turn an ankle and Novak…well…

Remember one thing with Delpo when trying to compare him to other players: HE’S 6-FOOT-6!! Tsonga, Soderling, Gulbis, etc will never ever (no matter how hard they try) reach that height. (he he).

Zola, as others said I’m not suggesting Delpo’s the best player on the tour or will ultimate be the GOAT. I am saying that when he’s in his “zone” and on a hardcourt (maybe even clay), he’s virtually unbeatable.

It’s true we’ve hardly seen it, just glimpses. And how often he does get into that “zone” remains a wildcard. Maybe he reaches that point once an event, or twice a month. I don’t know.

But when he gets there I don’t think the top guys can handle him.

Recall in his last two major events before injury what did he do? He won the US Open and he reached the London finals. Not bad. And with a bad wrist he still managed a fourth round at the Aussie Open.

As for Murray and Djokovic, they are both great players, great talents and I like each of their games a lot.

But we know all to well of Murray’s mental problems on the biggest of stages, and even if he’s playing at his most offensive I see his second serve as a liability.

For Djokovic, of the top players I maybe give him the best chance against a peak Delpo these days.

Novak can hit with power and force off both sides, he moves well, can play good D and he’s able at the net. Novak’s problem is his serve. And that’s where Delpo can get him.

I remember watching Delpo last summer feasting on weak second serves, and he doesn’t just hit back to set up a second shot. Delpo returns crushes returns with the thought of ending the point in mind.

At 6-foot-6, he has a great advantage over other players when returning serve.

grendel Says:

jane, that sort of pun you spotted – I’m afraid I can’t claim credit. It was purely accidental. I had a good laugh when I realised what you meant, though. Pity….

Ben Pronin Says:

How consistent has Del Potro’s mental toughness really been, though? As a lot of people here have already mentioned, he had several ups and downs last year, including that loss at Wimbledon (albeit Hewitt is one of the 5 or 6 guys who know how to play on grass really well, that’s where Del Potro’s movement can really be exploited). Plus his injuries after the US Open and then his complacent attitude in the WTF final. He’s tough, he’s a fighter, but he showed this attitude for roughly a year. Djokovic has been 3 since 07, Murray in the top 4 since 08. Nadal and Federer since roughly 1846. Del Potro has to prove he can be consistent like these guys.

I’d like to point out how much Safina and some other women who ranked number 1 without a slam got a lot of criticism. They were flawed, the system was flawed, everything’s flawed, etc. Del Potro won the USO, reach the quarters at AO, the semis at FO, and the finals at WTF was still ranked just 5. Nadal also had only 1 slam and even missed 1, Djokovic and Murray had 0 slams and 0 finals. But they still ranked above them, meaning they were more consistent and had better results throughout the year as a whole. Del Potro, great as he is, has a lot of work ahead of him even once he gets back to where he was in 09.

I am optimistic about him, though, and I believe he will improve and that’s a big part of why his return excites me so much.

Ben Pronin Says:

“I remember watching Delpo last summer feasting on weak second serves, and he doesn’t just hit back to set up a second shot. Delpo returns crushes returns with the thought of ending the point in mind.”

Federer, who’s second serve isn’t exactly a weakness, looked like a chump at the USO final last year whenever he hit a second serve. Blame it on the tall dude.

grendel Says:

“Federer, who’s second serve isn’t exactly a weakness”

It seems to me that (almost) every player’s second serve is a weakness. I daresay that’s a silly thing to say, but I can’t help thinking it is true. Only sometimes, a player will be really strong on his second serve. He can’t usually keep it up, that’s the thing. Fed’s second serve can be very ordinary, it can be outlandishly good. Who has consistently threatening second serve? Sampras, Karlovic did, Roddick, Isner perhaps. It irritates me to say it, but Nadal is getting close to it. And he always seems to have a canny second serve on break point.

bibi Says:

Just as Nadal has chronic tendinitis in his knees, so Del Potro has chronic tendinitis in his right wrist. One had his micro-damaged tendons regenerated with PRP injections, the other had his torn tendon surgically repaired.

Both will need to manage their schedule carefully to avoid overplaying and reinjuring, i.e. both will need to play less and rest more.

The difference is that Nadal has another option – he can adapt his game as well (better serve, more aggressive tactics, shortening of points and matches), to help shrink the mileage on those knees. Judging by the last USO, he’s already doing just that.

What can Del Potro do, apart from resting more? Change his hitting technique? A bit late for that. Hit less powerfully? His whole game is based on hitting people off court. If he takes the power down, he would have to run more. His big heavy frame is already at its speed limit. Serve & volley, chip & charge more? He’s no agile Llodra, bending low is not his forte.

Judging by reports from his practice sessions (he was “killing balls”) and by the match against Rochus (he was blasting his forehands, although many ended way out due to rust, and he hit 16 aces), it seems his tactics will be “damn the torpedos, full speed ahead”. So, no change.

Well then, just resting more seems to be his plan.

guy Says:

del potro will never have the defense and movement of nadal,federer,murray,djoker for the simple reason he is too big.
he has slightly more firepower, but not as much as people think. you can only hit a ball so hard and keep it in the court.
the point is, movement and defense are incredibly important, so important it’s no coincidence the top 4 have some of best on tour.
del potro can make up for some of the handicap with his power, but i don’t believe it’s enough to make him a better player than the top 4.

steve-o Says:

Mindy: I never wrote Nadal’s obituary; in fact, last season, when everyone was bemoaning that he would never be the same, at the year-end championships when he failed to take a set off anyone, I said he would be fine once he hit the clay. Which turned out to be exactly the case.

It would be stupid to write Nadal off, given his remarkable persistence and tenacity. I have always had the highest respect for his remarkable accomplishments, which rank him among the greatest ever to play the game; I just don’t enjoy watching him play. He is a great tennis player, in the sense that what he does wins tennis matches–and for me, only in that sense.

“However, it was charming of you to demean his knee tendinitis”

I do demean it, because it was called “career-threatening”. And it’s clearly not, SINCE HE JUST WON THREE MAJORS IN A ROW.

If those injuries are “career-threatening”, I’d like to have some of that, please. I mean, he must be the most physically fragile nine-time GS champ and career slam winner ever. I have to wonder, has there ever been any other tennis player of comparable stature who has supposedly been so threatened by injury?

He claimed that there were knee problems when he twice had to play five sets at Wimbledon this year. Then after another week of running around every other day, facing tougher and tougher players, presumably aggravating his injuries, were his knees worse? On the contrary, he demolished Murray and Berdych without the loss of a set.

Does that sound like a man who was hurting? Whatever his problems were against Haase and Petzschner, I very much doubt it was due to injury. Maybe he was a little rusty from lack of match play. Maybe he ate bad seafood the night before. Maybe it was something else. I don’t know. But I’m pretty damn sure it wasn’t the knees, or any other part of his body for that matter.

You may call me whatever names you wish, but please, do me this one favor: don’t talk to me like I’m blind and stupid. Please don’t try to sell me the sob story of the “career threatening” knee injuries that are “progressive” and “incurable”, when the man just had the best year of his career.

Whatever his injury problems are–and I’m not denying that he has injury problems–they are obviously not the doomsday scenario that you would have everyone believe. They are at worst an occasional hindrance, nothing more.

What lies have I spread? Please, point them out to me. Did I lie when I said Nadal has never spent almost an entire season off the tour, as Del Potro just did?

What Del Potro went through was bad, but it’s not career threatening. Nadal has never experienced anything remotely that serious.

“How many times have Rafa fans been reminded that we always make excuses for him?”

If you stop doing it so much, others will stop mentioning it. I honestly don’t know what else to tell you.

“Would it make you feel better to know that I wished Delpo well in his recovery?”

Thank you, Mindy. That’s very gracious of you. As a Del Potro fan, I appreciate your kind thoughts.

“It is nice to know that Rafa’s injury wasn’t serious enough for you.”

Now you’re simply twisting my words. I take no pleasure in anyone’s injury and I wished Nadal a swift return, which occurred; I’m just irritated at the disproportionate reactions to the two different cases. And I am pointing out these disproportionate reactions in the strongest terms possible.

“the truth is that you wouldn’t know a great champion if you fell over him!”

For me the greatest champion remains Roger Federer, regardless of whoever ends up with more trophies at the end of their career. No one else plays with such lovely creative flair, no one else handles the pressure with such grace and class, no one else takes such an intense interest in all levels of the game, from the lowest-ranked players on up, no one else understands more that he is only part of a great tennis community to which he is obligated to give back many times over. And before you jump all over me, that’s your favorite player’s opinion as well.

So, I don’t think you quite hit the mark with that comment.

Sean Randall Says:

grendel, for the most part that’s true. Federer, I think, has a decent second serve. Same for Djokovic, Roddick, Isner and a few others.

Murray’s I feel is weak and attackable. Nadal’s is also weak (or was weak).

That said, few players these days really go after weak second serves on the return. Federer and Nadal hardly ever do. Murray’s done it, but rarely. Djokovic…???

But Delpo can and will make you pay.

Thomas Says:

I agree about Del Potro’s return of serve. Btw,how long do you think it will take for him to get back to his best?

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic attacks second serves, but he could do more. Nadal is pretty good at hitting the ball deep and with lots of spin off of second serves, and sets himself up nicely for the rest of the point.

Grendel I do agree, especially against aggressive returners. But still, a well placed second serve can be tough to deal with, it’s just hard to move a guy with a 6’6 wingspan out of position with some spin.

I agree with guy. Federer’s reign really forced everyone to even out. You need great defense with even greater offense. That’s what kept Federer at 1 for so long, and when Nadal really aggressive he took over the top spot. Djokovic has been ranked above Murray for most of the time since he is the more attacking player generally. But Del Potro, his movement is poor. It’s disguised by his long reach but he’s never going to be the scrambler that Nadal and Djokovic, for example, are. But if he can play near his best for most tournaments, he could break into the top 4.

Sean Randall Says:

Thomas, given his frailty it could be as long as 6-9 months, which just so happens to be the start of the 2011 summer hardcourt season!

The guy just needs matches, and then some tough matches, and then big wins. A good ‘ol 5-set win in the heat on Laver over a Top 10 player would do wonders.

guy Says:


a chronic injury problem is career threatening. pretty simple concept

nadal’s doctor was in the press recently talking about the poor state of the knees before treatment. and rebuilding tendons with plasma etc.

but some people have this kind of thing done for fun too, so it is hard to tell if the problem is real.

you really have no idea

steve-o Says:

@grendel, jane, etc: You’re right, saying Djokovic and Murray have no balls is a huge exaggeration.

How about saying Del Potro’s shown more courage and fighting spirit on the biggest occasions than Djokovic or Murray.

Djokovic has beaten Federer in a Grand Slam but never beaten Nadal, Murray has beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam but never Federer. Del Potro has beaten both Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam.

That’s my point.

grendel Says:

“he has slightly more firepower, but not as much as people think. you can only hit a ball so hard and keep it in the court.” (guy)

What’s this, a statement of physics? Force equals mass times acceleration (Newton). I’m just trying to figure out on what grounds, if the ball is propelled hard enough, it is bound to sail beyond the line.

Can’t see it. guy must mean something psychological – something along the lines, perhaps, that you can only apply so much force before you lose control and the ball could go anywhere. But I can’t see that, either. When del Potro lets go, he lets go. There is no holding back. Therefore, he is hitting it as hard as he possibly can.

The question then is: does this only represent “slightly more firepower”? Well, my suspicion is that other players sometimes can hit the ball as hard (Gonzalez, Nadal again goddammit he seems to come into everything but I once saw him let loose and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the ball hit so hard, and there are probably others but I am too tired to think).

But the thing about del Potro is that he keeps it up. He unleashes all the time, no wonder he is injury prone. So he may not ever be a better player than the top 4, since clearly he does not have their variety – but, for a while, he may be more effective. And does that not, in a sense, mean that (if it happens) he will be better? After all, what is the criterion for quality?

bibi Says:

Acute tendinitis (inflammation of tendon due to overuse) turns to chronic tendinitis (micro-tears of tendon) if you don’t rest.

That’s exactly what happened to Del Potro when he started to play (and win or go far into) so many tournaments. Besides, he hits so damn hard, with open stance, huge backswing and extremely wristy action. Yet, he played on after 2009 USO, through constant pain, loads of anti-inflammatories, unsuccessful treatments and retirements.

His tendon has been surgically repaired now, but since he’s not changing anything in his playing style, and he must use his right hand constantly and brutally, he’s bound to get inflammation and eventually micro-tears again. Another surgery on the same tendon may not be feasible.

So yeah, tendinitis is very painful and can be career threatening. Not an “occasional hindrance” by any means.

steve-o Says:

@guy: I have an even simpler concept: a tennis player who has just won three straight majors cannot possibly be suffering from the effects “career-threatening” injuries during the time in which he won them.

So either his chronic injuries can be put in remission by treatment, or they aren’t that bad.

PRP isn’t magic. Maybe it would help a mild case of tendinitis, but if he has a really severe condition, I doubt it will be able to fix the problem. Certainly not so quickly.

The treatment is so new that there are not a lot of studies to prove its efficacy, only anecdotal evidence. So whatever Nadal’s doctor may believe, we really don’t know. It could be as simple as the placebo effect.

You can check out this Scientific American article for more on the subject.

grendel Says:

“His tendon has been surgically repaired now, but since he’s not changing anything in his playing style, and he must use his right hand constantly and brutally, he’s bound to get inflammation and eventually micro-tears again. Another surgery on the same tendon may not be feasible.”

This is the alarming thought that worries those who are disposed to worry. But maybe it doesn’t have to be an exact repeat. After all, treatment is now available which wasn’t before – in particular, this PRP stuff which the anecdotal evidence(I’m going on Steve-o’s link) suggests is quite effective. Fingers crossed.

bibi Says:

Both Nadal and Del Potro are cured from chronic tendinitis at the moment, by two different therapies (PRP and surgery). MRI scans of both confirmed their tendons are smooth and whole again, according to their respective doctors.

But both of them are prone to acquire acute tendinitis again as soon as they heavily overplay and overuse their tendons. Some people are simply genetically more predisposed to inflammations. And if they continue to overplay, constant inflammation weakens the tendon and can cause micro-tears again.

As for the efficacy of PRP therapy, it very much depends on the individual’s own regenerative capabilities. If they are naturally high, PRP can increase them exponentially. In other words, if your simple bruise heals in just two days instead of lingering for a whole week, PRP will do its regenerative magic on your injured tendons or ligaments with complete success. Of course, it also depends on the level of damage; micro-tears are healed easier than total ruptures.

zola Says:


**Zola, as others said I’m not suggesting Delpo’s the best player on the tour or will ultimate be the GOAT. I am saying that when he’s in his “zone” and on a hardcourt (maybe even clay), he’s virtually unbeatable.***

well, is it possible that the “zone” is imaginary? What and where is that zone? Has he ever played at his best or are people imagining him at a certain level?

I guess it is the latter. You think delpo is tall, has a good forehand, backhand, he wants to win, then he “should ” win? Does it really work this way?

I understand that you see potential in him. But every top 10- top 20 even top 50 has potential.
I personally would like to wait and see how Delpo does in the next six months. bibi had great points about his injury. I would like to see if he is going to change his forehand. When he plays his next GS final, then we can start speculating.

bibi Says:

And of course, the level of damage could determine the therapy – PRP for micro-tears, surgery for big ruptures.

zola Says:

I was going to ask you if PRP would be an option for Delpo.

Rafa’s doctors say if he is not careful his tendinitis might reappear. I think that probability might be higher for the wrist.

jane Says:

Sean says ” Novak’s problem is his serve. And that’s where Delpo can get him.” True.

I think Nole’s serve is on it’s way back though (knock on wood). And there may (??) be a silver lining in his having lost it for a while since 2009: I think his returning has gotten even stronger. He’s had to rely on a great return game at certain points this year and as a result he is the number 1 player in return games won and break points converted; he’s 3rd returning 1st serves and 4th returning 2nd serves. So very solid in the returning department. As for his serving, his first serve percentage is coming back up (less doubles, phew) and he’s done well fending off break points, all things considered. However, he still need a better second serve, and he needs to be able to win at least some easy points off the serve again, more aces. If he can get that serve all the way back, that’ll increase his chances at the big titles.

Murray is already doing well in the aces department and he wins games when he gets his first serve in, but he needs to get his first serves in more often (he’s ranked 62nd in 1st serve %).

Murray’s won more points off his second serve than Nole, but it could be because Nole was setting records in double faults for a while there. LOL. : /

Anna Says:

Zola – Rafa’s knees are healed. He seems to be at a good weight. Toni has said that they are now monitoring the amount of time he spends practicing and will monitor the amount of time he’s on the court next year too. Team Nadal is looking to keep Rafa playing for as long as possible. Something similar will probably have to be done for DelPo too in terms of limiting practice time and # of tournaments played. For Rafa the therapy can be repeated if necessary. I believe I read somewhere that they had tried the therapy with Juan but it wasn’t effective. I think surgery pretty much rules out prp for him.

zola Says:

Thanks for the info on Delpo. I think the wrist is a bit riskier than the knee because it does all the work. In delpo’s case, if the forehand demands lots of wrist action, this cannot be good for the wrist. But I imagine they’ll find a way.

In Rafa’s case, it seems PRP has been effective, although on eurosport there were reports from his doctors saying it might resurface. I am glad Toni is keeping an eye on Rafa’s time on court. This year should be a good example for them. A bit of rest went a long way for Rafa. I hope they do the same next year.

steve-o Says:

“I believe I read somewhere that they had tried the therapy with Juan but it wasn’t effective.”

Out of curiosity, where did you hear this? I haven’t been able to find a source online.

Kimberly Says:

as I said over and over, Delpo is a good player. But I agree with Zola, I think his status as the best on the tour is imagined or premature. But he has been missing and Rafa has been winning so I understand non-nadal fans holding a lot of hope.

I love Rafa but I think he has his hands full with many players on the tour (particularly Murray and Nole) with or without Delpo. To me Delpo is another guy in the mix, not the nemesis. I don’t know that he is anymore dangerous to Rafa than the previous Davydenko (who beat rafa when rafa was at his best, 2008 fairly easily).

Delpo is a strong power shooter but not a particularly great mover and i question his fitness as well.

Anna Says:

When the story first broke about Juan’s wrist there were a number of articles written about the injury and treatments he had received, prp being one of them, and that it didn’t work in JMDP’s case, thus the surgery. I’m sure you could google JMDP wrist injury.

grendel Says:

“is it possible that the “zone” is imaginary?”

No. It is well attested and there is no serious argument about it. But that does not in the slightest imply that he is “the best on tour” as Kimberley suggests. Of course he is not the best on tour or anywhere near it. Yet. That is a quite seperate issue.

The point which Anna and Bibi make, however, about surgery precluding the PRP treatment ia disturbing, unless some other effective treatment emerges. Because it is indeed difficult to see, given delPo’s style, how he can avoid recurrence of the wrist injury.

steve-o Says:

@anna: Thank you. I already searched online about Del Potro’s wrist injury, specifically for mention of platelet therapy. I found nothing regarding PRP. Only very general statements that other treatment options had been tried for his injury and they didn’t work.

I want to be a little more precise on this, and not go on extrapolations from what people think they may have heard or read.

Anna Says:


Good idea. I’m on vacation right now, but I’ll look when I get home. If I find it I’ll post.

Mindy Says:

Rafa’s knees are not healed. Even Dr. Sanchez issued a cautionary warning that the tendinitis could return and Rafa may need another plasma injection. He also said that it could occur in the achilles tendon. I don’t know if it’s genetic or due to Rafa’s physical style of play. I just don’t want to get carried away and decide that everything is rosy. Tendinitis is a nasty business, no matter where you have it. For now I am just grateful that the treatments have helped Rafa enormously.

As far as how you win THREE MAJORS IN A ROW with knee tendinitis, well, the truth is that you do it with some medical intervention, the right treatment and get relief so that you can play your best. Rafa had his first injection in the left knee before RG. I don’t know that we know for certain if it was before MC or when he pulled out of Barcelona. He got a great result and then the decision was made to treat the right knee after Wimbledon.

I get tired of arguing about whether Rafa was really in pain in his match with Petz. I recorded that match and watched it several times and there were moments when I could see that Rafa was feeling discomfort in his knee. He’s not going to roll on the ground and broadcast it for anyone. Apparently, his team was able to manage it so that he could get through Wimbledon. We don’t know if he took oral anti-inflammatories or relied on physical therapy or what. The fact that he played does not mean that he wasn’t in pain. However, people will believe what they wish to believe.

It seems that either Rafa is faking an injury or his knees are so bad that they will blow apart at any time. One never knows just reading the comments here. The fact is that Rafa did receive additional injections after Wimbledon. That’s one reason why he wasn’t in good form at Toronto and Cincy. He couldn’t play for several weeks. I am just thankful that there is a medical treatment which will extend the longevity of his career.

For now I am cautiously optimistic about Rafa’s knees. One never knows for sure, but I believe that the changes he has made in his game, that big serve, being more aggressive instead of just grinding it out from the baseline, will help keep his knees healthy. He will have to manage his schedule and build in rest periods.

As far as this endless debate about Rafa and Fed, I agree that, at this point in time, Fed is the greater player. Note that I said at this point in time. Fed fans love to quote Rafa’s comments on this, however, they leave out the one caveat he included at the end. He said that when his career is over, then we will know for sure. He’s a smart guy. He happens to be right. Rafa is only 24 and Fed had been playing for three years by the time he started. Any time Rafa is compared with Fed, he will lose because I don’t think anyone here would seriously make the argument that a 24 year old player could possibly be expected to win 16 grand slams! So the argument is pointless and moot for now.

I am happy with Rafa’s achievements at this point in time. With the career grand slam win, he has joined some very elite company. He will easily get into double digits in grand slam wins. I don’t care if he manages to win as many slams as Fed. When Rafa hangs up his racket, he will have his place in history. I cannot ask for more than that.

kimberly Says:

Ditto mindy

Vulcan Says:

“JMDP’s “max” level I think is the best in the game.”

Hmmm, as far as where his USO zoned performance ranks it’s probably pretty high. But Federer has thrown out a few goodies too such as his USO demolition of Hewitt in 2004. Anyway, picking out zoned performances and using them to extrapolate and suggest that a player is going to be dominant is somewhat dubious anyway. The more streaky a player is the less relevant the performance. DP reminds me of another 6’6″ good mover whose game could be awesome at times (I think awesome goes with the territory when your’e 6’6″): Joachim Johansson. Unfortunately we never got to see just how spectacular a player he could of developed into.

zola Says:

***I get tired of arguing about whether Rafa was really in pain in his match with Petz. I recorded that match and watched it several times and there were moments when I could see that Rafa was feeling discomfort in his knee. He’s not going to roll on the ground and broadcast it for anyone. Apparently, his team was able to manage it so that he could get through Wimbledon. We don’t know if he took oral anti-inflammatories or relied on physical therapy or what. The fact that he played does not mean that he wasn’t in pain. However, people will believe what they wish to believe.

There is an interview with Uncle Toni in a Spanish paper and there he talks about Rafa. He says that in Rome Rafa was starting on Wednesday and on Tuesday he was in lots of pain while practicing. In Toni’s words he said that Rafa “was showing it in his face”…and Toni told him to decide to either withdraw and go home or stay and play and learn how to deal with pain.

you can use google translation:

Anna Says:


I think the fact that the Dr. said that it could reoccur means that it’s not occuring right now. BiBi is correct when he/she said that the MRI results reported by his Dr. indicate that the tendons are healed. If he continues to overuse and stress those same tendons then the condition could reoccur.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Great post :) & and thanks for giving Fed some kudos during a time when Rafa is clearly “the man”. Hope Rafa remains healthy and he clearly didn’t win 3 slams this year by having too much issues. It’s “Rafa” time

Mindy Says:


I was not aware of the MRI test results indicating that the tendons are healed. Believe me, this is good news! Based on that, then I stand corrected, gladly!

No one has a crystal ball or is a fortune teller, so we cannot know when/if the tendinitis will reoccur. I am pleased with the changes Rafa has made in his game. I see him playing really smart, savvy tennis, using his energy wisely and cranking it up a gear when necessary.

I happened to see his quarterfinal match recorded on a livestream. It was posted on a Rafa fan forum. No way can I stay up until crazy hours because of the time difference between Bangkok and lovely L.A.! Not for a small tournament. I cannot remember seeing Rafa playing so well. That serve really changes his game. Indoor hardcourt has always been his biggest challenge and seeing him look so much in his element, seeing that serve, watching him moving into the court and taking the ball early and blast a volley for a winner, just gave me the biggest smile! He seems to be brimming with confidence these days.

I guess the only concern I have is his schedule for the Asian swing. To some extent, I want him to just relax and sit on his insurmountable lead in points. However, Rafa wants to play, so I have to believe that his team will schedule wisely.

Thanks to those who provided info about the knee issue.


I have no problem giving Fed all the credit that is due him for his considerable achievements. I happen to be one who thinks he is not done yet. I said after he lost in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, that he had another great run in him. I still believe that. I don’t when it will happen and won’t predict how many slams he may win.

The day that Fed hangs up his racket and retires, that is when I will finally say that he won’t win anymore slams! :)

Mindy Says:


I forgot to say a sincere thank you back to you! :)

Anna Says:


I’m in Northern Cal so I totally commiserate with the schedule. I’m on vacation this week and haven’t been able to watch the matches, but I have internet access in the afternoons and try to get caught up. From what I’ve read Rafa is on fire and I’m loven it. He seems to have more confidence now than ever before.

Regarding the knees, I think Rafa and his team are capable of learning from their mistakes and will do whatever needs to be done to keep him healthy. If need be though, he could have this therapy again.

Also want to apologize for butting in on a conversation between you & Skeezer pre USO. That was me being naive and I am sorry.

Kimberly Says:

wtf Rafa? lost to garcia-lopez? Failed to convert 24 of 26 break points. Reminds me of Lubijic in IW. Hopefully he will learn his lesson again!!!

And Ferrer lost to Golubev?

Kimberly Says:

Mindy–i thought all of your comments were spot on. I don’t care if Rafa is the GOAT, I am proud of his achievements to date and if he hung up his hat tomorrow he would have had an awesome career. I hope through the treatments he can extend his career so I can have the pleasure of watching this player in the coming years.

But still so sad about his loss today! He failed to convert 24 of 26 breakpoints and Garcia Lopez converted the only one he had! Well hopefully better things next week!

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