Juan Martin Del Potro reaches tough decision as US Open wildcards are announced

Kevin Palmer
Joy for Juan Martin del Potro at the Rio Games
The Argentine finally returned to action in 2016 and there were emotional scenes as he beat Rafael Nadal en route to the gold medal match

Two-time champion Venus Williams and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki have received wildcards for the US Open.

Williams, 43, will be making her 24th main draw appearance at Flushing Meadows, where she won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.

The veteran American won her first match at the Cincinnati Masters this week but lost her second round encounter against world No 24 Zheng Qinwen on Wednesday.

Williams lost 11 games in a row in her defeat against Qinwen after taking the first set in impressive fashion in a curious match that she lost 1-6 6-2 6-1.

Wozniacki has also been taking steps back onto the court in recent weeks, with the 33-year-old on the comeback trail after retiring at the 2020 Australian Open.

Having announced in June that she is coming out of retirement, the former world No 1 enjoyed a solid comeback at the Canadian Open last week as she won her opener before going down in two sets against Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.

Wozniacki was back in action at the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday as she took on lucky loser Varvara Gracheva in the first round of the WTA 1000 tournament, but there was just no real momentum as she went down 6-4, 6-4 against the Frenchwoman.

The 2018 Melbourne champion, who now has two children, was US Open runner-up in 2009 and 2014 and announced her return to competitive action in June and she is relishing her US Open return.

“I still have about 10 days to prepare for the US Open,” she said after her defeat in Cincinnati. “There are quite a few things that I feel like I need to do better

“Last week I was pretty pleased about where I was. I think this week I don’t feel like my timing is exactly where I want it to be, so I’m just going to go back and work hard.

“I believe in myself and I believe that I can have. It’s just taking me a little bit of time to get used to the matches again and competing in real tournaments.

“I don’t really feel the expectations from everyone else. I think I have always just been tough on myself. I’m looking for perfection, which is not possible in this sport but I’m just gonna work hard and try and play better and better.”

They will be joined by up-and-coming Americans Ashlyn Krueger, Robin Montgomery, Kayla Day and Clervie Ngounoue, as well as Australia’s Storm Hunter and France’s Fiona Ferro.

The US Open begins on Monday, August 28 in New York, but will not feature former world number three Juan Martin Del Potro has had to shelve his proposed comeback at Flushing Meadows after four years of knee problems.

The Argentinian, who has played one match since 2019, wrote on Twitter: “My desire to return to a court as special as the US Open had me excited.

“I tried by all means to achieve it, but my body does not accompany me 100 per cent to feel comfortable.

“The pain I feel doesn’t allow me to focus on a comeback yet. I will continue looking for the best alternatives to recover my quality of life.”

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