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Del Potro goes into ‘Wimbledon mode’

Del Potro goes into ‘Wimbledon mode’

Juan Martín Del Potro, after months watching the big tournaments on television, felt competitive again at Roland Garros. He fell in the round of 16 on Monday, but responded well physically and is optimistic for the turf tour, with Wimbledon in his sights.

“Beyond the tough defeat, tomorrow we are going to talk about my next tournaments, which will possibly be Queen’s and Wimbledon. And we will not be talking about recovery time, rehabilitation. That’s what I wanted with this tournament, “said the Tandilense in his press conference after his defeat in four sets (7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3) against Russian Karen Khachanov, eleventh in the world .

Del Potro had never lost to Khachanov, in his three previous meetings, but the Argentine was aware that this match was different due to his atypical 2019 season, in which he hardly played due to his problems in his right knee.

“I’m doing a great tournament for what I came to do and for my conditions today,” he estimated on Monday, remaining very positive at all times.

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At Wimbledon he fell last year he fell in the quarterfinals against Rafa Nadal, so he needs to avoid a premature elimination for the points he defends at the All England Club.

His best result in the emblematic London event is the semifinals of 2013, a year after having achieved the Olympic bronze in the individual category on these tracks. But for Del Potro the main thing now is to be able to continue competing and recovering his feelings.

The Argentine tennis player has had to get used in his career to falling into hell due to injuries and having to rise from his own ashes.

The current problem did not make him drop so much in the ranking – he is currently ninth – but it has had him far off the tracks since his right knee was damaged in October at the Masters 1000 in Shanghai, in the round of 16 match against the Croatian. Borna Coric.

This made him lose the end of last season, including the London Masters, and the start of the current one, especially the Australian Open.

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In February he did a test in Delray Beach (United States), where he made it through two rounds but lost in the quarterfinals against local Mackenzie McDonald.

But above all, he was not convinced by the condition of his knee and took a break, not reappearing until May, when he lost in his first match in the Madrid tournament, against the Slovenian Laslo Djere.

The sensations improved in Rome, where he was on the verge of beating number one Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, against whom he wasted two match points.

– False alarm –

But the most difficult thing had already been done: his right knee resisted and he was in a position to play Roland Garros.

On the clay of Paris he had a scare.

It was in the first set of his second-round match against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka that he suffered a slip that caused him to twist his knee.

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Hurt was hurt and the worst was feared. The shadow of abandonment hovered over various phases of the match, with a Del Potro who requested medical assistance and had his knee bandaged, while he had a blank look and a dejected gesture.

«It was difficult for me to move, it was difficult for me to play. In the end, in that mental fight, the passion and the desire to play and to compete wins, which is what I miss when I’m away, ”he explained after the victory over the Japanese.

Then his knee, which has been bandaged in his subsequent games, responded well in both the comfortable third-round win against Australia’s Jordan Thompson and in the round of 16 against Khachanov, which is the best news for him at this tournament.

Last year he had reached the semifinals at Roland Garros, so his elimination in the round of 16 makes him lose strength in the ATP classification and will leave the ‘Top 10’.

‘Operation Wimbledon’ has only just begun. AFP

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