Juan Martin del Potro turns 30 today and we celebrate by giving you 10 interesting facts about the 2009 US Open winner.
1. He has a guardian angel
There is genuine tragedy in Del Potro’s past: “I had a sister who died many years ago,” he revealed, “and I believe that she protects me from the sky. She was eight years old. It was a car accident in Argentina. I was five or six, so it was much worse for my parents.”
2. He is from a Tennis hotbed
You may not have heard of Del Potro’s hometown of Tendil, but tennis is certainly aware of the small mountain town of around 100,000 residents.
Del Potro is one of six male professional tennis players. The others are:
Juan Monaco, Mariano Zabaleta, Máximo González, Diego Junqueira, and Guillermo Pérez-Roldán.
How does he explain it?
“I don’t know. The beef maybe?
“And there is a very good coach, Marcelo Gomez, who was my coach when I was young. There are good coaches there, good courts, good gyms, good weather.”
3. He’s a man of many nicknames
Most of us simply call him ‘Delpo’, but depending on where you go, or where you’re from, you may know him as something else.
Back home he is called ‘The Tower of Tandil’, while in the UK fans affectionately called him ‘Del Boy’ after beloved British comedy character Derek Trotter.
“I have always fan a fantastic relationship with the English fans. They all call me Del Boy! I didn’t know why they call me this, but I was told this is a guy from the TV and I like that they have the fun with me,” he exclusively told Tennis365.
4. His family is probably bigger than yours
Del Potro estimates that 150 to 200 members of his family live in Tandil and they all gather for a party whenever he is in town.
5. Injuries have cost us too much Delpo
When Del Potro took to the court at Wimbledon in 2016, it was his first Grand Slam match for 894 days. He was ranked 165th in the world at the time after undergoing multiple wrist surgeries.
“I’m enjoying tennis again,” del Potro said after winning the match. “I’m starting to talk about tennis and no more about my wrist. That’s important.”
In the second round he defeated fourth-seed Stan Wawrinka, who would win the US Open just a couple of months later.
“My life changed after I won the US Open,” Del Potro said in an interview in 2011.
“A few months later my life changed again when I sustained a hand injury.
“I went from being labeled ‘Future No. 1 in the world’ to a nobody. Everything happened so fast and I realised that I’m nothing without tennis.”
And one day I was back… Thank you for your kind messages and for your unconditional support!!! pic.twitter.com/8RUEwL0L7R
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) 28 June 2016
6. Football was his first passion
Like most Argentinians, Del Potro is a football nut, and would only pick up a racket in his youth if he couldn’t find a gameof football to join.
He is a big fan of Boca Juniors and Juventus, and close friends with former Juve star, and fellow Tandil native,and World Cup winner, Mauro Camoranesi, who played 55 times for Italy despite being born and raised in Argentina.
“Now I’m the worst soccer player you’ll ever see. I lost all my abilities for that,” he said.
7. He transcends politics
Political tensions between the UK and Argentina are always somewhat strained, and it has spilled out into sports on occasion too, but Del Potro’s popularity seems to transcend such things.
“In all the tournaments I play around the world, I feel that I have the best reaction of all is when I play in front of the English fans. It is very special to me.
“Maybe that have lived through some battles with me. I have had some great matches at Wimbledon and I think people remember that.
2I reached the semi-finals in 2013 and had a long match with (Novak) Djokovic, then I lost in the semi-final with Roger (Federer) at the Olympics in a final set that went on for a long time.
“Also, they see how I have battled to come back from my wrist problems and I now go onto the court for every match not worrying about rankings or where I might be in the draw.
8. He’s a man of the people
After winning the 2009 US Open, 40,000 people, over a third of the 100,000 population, lined the streets of Tandil to salute him in a homecoming parade.
“My friends told me almost a third of the population of Tandil was there, I will never forget that moment in my life,”
9. He got off to a flyer
In 2008, he became the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments (Stuttgart, Kitzbuhel, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.)
10. He may be the best big brother in the world
After winning his first title in Stuttgart in July 2008, gave his CLK Mercedes-Benz to his sister, Julieta.
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