Tearful Del Potro Loses Comeback At Argentina
Tearful Del Potro Loses Comeback At Argentina Open The 33-year-old former US Open champion was overcome with emotion towards the end of Delbonis's 6-1, 6-3 victory in 1hr 23min.
Argentine great Juan Martin del Potro made a losing return to tennis after a two-and-a-half-year injury absence on Tuesday, beaten in straight sets by compatriot Federico Delbonis in the Argentina Open. In what was expected to be one of Del Potro's final appearances before retiring, the 33-year-old former US Open champion was overcome with emotion towards the end of Delbonis's 6-1, 6-3 victory in 1hr 23min.
The former world number three wiped away tears as he prepared to serve what would turn out to be the final game of the match.
After Delbonis sealed victory, Del Potro embraced his opponent before waving to the crowd on the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club's Guillermo Vilas court.
"Possibly we may not meet again," Del Potro told fans afterwards.
"Today I gave everything I had, until the last point. I'm happy because my last game was probably on a tennis court in front of all of you, and not in a press conference. I'll always remember you," he added.
Del Potro signalled at the weekend he plans to retire soon after this week's tournament, describing his comeback as "more a farewell than a return".
He was given a loud ovation as he walked on court by a packed crowd on Tuesday but was unable to deliver what would have been a fairytale win.
Del Potro said he wants to see how his surgically-repaired knee feels on Wednesday before deciding whether to play in next week's Rio Open in Brazil.
"I will speak to doctors again. I have to take care of my knee and then we will see," said Del Potro. "I will always leave the window open.
"If today was the last time I will leave happy."
After taking the opening game with a break of serve, Del Potro was hampered by his lack of mobility thereafter, with Delbonis rattling off three breaks of serve to win the first set in 33 minutes.
Del Potro put up stronger resistance in the second set, but was ultimately overpowered by Delbonis.
Tuesday's defeat was Del Potro's first event since fracturing his kneecap in June 2019 at Queen's in London.
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Del Potro, who beat Roger Federer in the 2009 US Open final, said his knee troubles had left him "living a nightmare" with four surgeries seeing his world ranking slip to 757.
Rafael Nadal Honored One Era With Roger Federer
MDP Live - Recently, Rafael Nadal replied to a message congratulating Roger Federer after the Spaniard won the 21st Grand Slam title of his career at the 2022 Australian Open.
The former world number 1 has finally broken the men's record with the most number of Grand Slam titles after coming back from two sets down against world number 2 Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final. This achievement received admiration from fellow tennis players, including Swiss tennis star Roger Federer.
A 20-year-old Grand Slam title, Federer took to Instagram to congratulate the Spaniard on becoming the first male player to win 21 Grand Slam titles. He also admitted that he felt great about his role in helping the Spaniard to achieve such remarkable achievements.
“To my friend and toughest rival @rafaelnadal, congratulations on becoming the first male player to win 21 Grand Slam titles. A few weeks ago we joked about using crutches. It's amazing, never underestimate a true champion. Your extraordinary work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless individuals around the world. I am proud to share this era with you and honored to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me over the past 18 seasons. I'm sure you can achieve more in the future, but for now, enjoy the moment," Federer wrote.
Speaking to Swiss-German media in Melbourne, the Spaniard said he would answer the message to Federer personally.
"I will tell him personally. I can't do it yet, answer it, but yeah, it means a lot to me. We have an amazing relationship. We did amazing things together, for me it's a great honor to be a part of his era," said Nadal.
"I think we brought to life some of the most amazing moments in the history of this sport. And you know, getting that message from him meant a lot to me."
"I wish him a speedy recovery, I really hope we will be able to play against each other again in such a prestigious tournament."
Towards the end of the interview, he insisted that he was unsure about whether he could win the Australian Open title before arriving in Melbourne.
"I never thought that I would get the chance to enjoy this again, it's impossible to imagine a day like this a few seasons ago. I think I trained hard, my team and family were by my side to support me in difficult times. I wasn't ready for a match like that. It was a big surprise, the most unexpected thing in my tennis career. But yes, it is very, very special," said Nadal.