Juan Martin del Potro news: Argentine described as ‘the Gentle Giant that never gave up’
Passionate, an unbelievable competitor, a big brother and someone who has deeper connection to the game are just some ways that Juan Martin del Potro will be remembered as when he retires, according to Mats Wilander.
Following more than two years on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury, Del Potro made an emotional return on Tuesday, going down 6-1, 6-3 to Federico Delbonis at the Argentina Open.
The 2009 US Open champion hinted before the match that it could well be his final competitive act in tennis as his injuries have started to take its toll.
After the match he told reporters: “I don’t know if it’s going to happen, because the pain in my knee is very high.
“But I will keep doing a big effort to fix the knee, and if I get that, maybe I will have another chance to play.”
Seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander was asked about Del Potro’s legacy during a Eurosport interview and replied: “To me, Del Potro’s legacy is, and I think I’ve heard this nickname before, the Gentle Giant.
“He was an unbelievable competitor and he was as big a fighter as the other top players, Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Novak [Djokovic] and Andy [Murray], for sure. At the net, there was always this very heartfelt handshake or often even a hug.
“And, of course, he’s much taller than the other four in the Big Four. So it always looked like he was kind of the big brother, although he was the youngest.
“So, to me, [he was] the Gentle Giant that never gave up, that always had the belief in the power in his game, his serve and his forehand and then his South American, I would call it, passion.
“To me, it’s more along the lines of Rafa Nadal. There’s a deeper connection to the game of tennis where he shows the people: ‘Of course I care, so does everybody else. But this means more to me as a human being, as a person, to actually give my best and be 100 per cent prepared.’
“So that’s what I remember from him, that he could have won so many matches against the Big Four, could have won more majors. But there was always this unbelievable respect between him and the other Big Four.”
Simona Halep ‘recovered and smiling’ again as she reveals she suffered a panic attack during French Open defeat
Simona Halep smiling again after panic attack.
Dan Evans ‘couldn’t care less’ about being booed off
The British number two lost in straight sets to Swede Mikael Ymer,
Daniil Medvedev happy to grind past Serbian Laslo Djere
Daniil Medvedev was a relieved man after powering past Laslo Djere in straight sets at Roland Garros.
Iga Swiatek makes quick work of Alison Riske to claim 30th straight win
Iga Swiatek makes it 30 wins on the bounce after dismantling Alison Riske.
Wildcard Leolia Jeanjean goes from living on minimum wage to £107k payday after ousting Karolina Pliskova
Good times are here for Leolia Jeanjean.
Serena Williams and Roger Federer farewells: Will they play again? Will they go out on the big stage?
Will Serena and Roger make a big fuss?
Novak Djokovic feels PTPA should’ve been part of Wimbledon talks ‘as players’ voices are not heard enough’
“The system has failed players so many times,” says Novak Djokovic.
Tennis365’s live scores and results centre: Follow the French Open here
Aaaaand it’s live! Follow the action from Roland Garros…
Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic reignite bitter war of words
Nick Kyrgios let Bernard Tomic have it.