Twenty months have passed since Juan Martín Del Potro played an official match for the last time. It was June 2019 at Queen’s. Since then, the man from Tandil has operated on his right knee three times -that has turned into a nightmare since he fractured his kneecap for the first time in October 2018- and at the end of last year, a surgery was performed in the area affected by the injury. treatment based on cells from your own bone marrow in Porto Alegre. He then spent a few days in Miami, where he continued his rehabilitation. It is the last known of his health and fitness.
As is the custom for years, Delpo maintains a great secrecy around his recovery, which he only breaks on rare occasions. His last contact with his followers through his personal Instagram account was on January 12, when he published a photo and a heartfelt message to his father Daniel, who had passed away the day before. Since then, silence. But despite this lack of news, the world continues to talk about him. Either by some images that the ATP shared with some of its great points; by a historical statistic that once again confirmed the quality of player that he is or by the rumors of a reconciliation with the model Sofía Jujuy Jiménez.
“Incredible shots that made Novak Djokovic applaud”, the ATP titled a video that it published a few days ago on its Facebook channel Tennis TV with a compilation of fourteen points that several players once stole from the Serbian. Two were the work of Del Potro.
The first, in the round robin duel of the Shanghai Masters Cup 2008, in the second confrontation between the two. At the start of the second set, the Argentine, 20 years old and eighth in the ranking, surprised the Serbian, who at 21 was already number three in the world, with a setback parallel to the race that earned an ovation from the public. “There is nothing that Djokovic could have done better,” said the match commentator, acknowledging the impressiveness of Delpo’s definition.
The second, a drop in the quarterfinal clash of the Rome Masters 2019. Djokovic’s shot found Del Potro standing close to the net and the Tandilense reacted quickly and simply placed the racket so that the ball bounced off the ropes and passed to the other side of the court. Applause from number one and a clash of hands between the two, with a knowing smile.
The two games were left to the Serbian, but as the ATP remarked at the bottom of the video, “when Novak Djokovic applauds you, you know you got a great shot.”
Del Potro beat Federer in the 2009 US Open final. Only he and Wawrinka beat any of the Fantastic Four in the definition of a Grand Slam since 2003. AFP Photo
Precisely the consecration of the Serbian on Sunday at the Australian Open once again brought to the memory of the tennis world a fact that put the Argentine’s name in the headlines again. The world number one captured his 18th major – and the ninth trophy in Melbourne – by defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final. And the Russian could not add his name to the exclusive group of players who managed to beat any of the Fantastic four -Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray- in a Grand Slam final since 2003.
The only ones who did it were Stan Wawrinka and Del Potro. The Swiss did it three times: against Rafa in Australia 2014 and against Nole, at Roland Garros 2015 and at Flushing Meadows 2016. Meanwhile, the Argentine defeated Federer in the duel for the title of that unforgettable US Open 2009.
Those good times were far behind for Del Potro. Without official matches in more than a year and a half, it continues to lose places in the ranking. This week it fell five positions and ranks 166th. And his date of return to the courts remains an unknown.
At least it seems that in his personal life there is good news. Because Jujuy Jiménez shared several stories on his Instagram account over the weekend that fueled rumors of a reconciliation. There were some images in which she is seen posing with the mountains of Tandil in the background and a photo of a table of cold cuts with which she invited her followers to comment on whether the best bites in the country were in that city.
Del Potro and the model and host had ended their relationship in May of last year; but the death of the player’s father seems to have brought them closer again.