For 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who has wrapped up his season on the ATP Tour, it has been an absolutely emotional ride. The ever affable and popular Argentine endured heartbreak for the better part of the last couple of years owing to two wrist surgeries. Whether he would at all be able to return ever again had become very doubtful at one point of time.
But the Tower of Tandil did not give up. Banking on the support he received from his family, friends, and fans, the 6’6’’ player did resume playing competitive tennis this year in February.
It is only natural that he had to thank his fans for backing him throughout the most trying time of his career and motivating him to have an amazing comeback. Del Potro jumped over 1000 ranking spots from 1045 in February to his current ranking of 38 this week.
From being tentative with his backhands in the initial stage, he grew from strength to strength and started showing a semblance of the intimidating player he once was. Gradually, his forehands became the force they used to be and Del Potro used them effectively to secure wins over each of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in a year that he has called ‘the best year of his life’.
It was at the Rio Olympics where his comeback actually gathered steam and he rode on multiple upsets to reach the final and clinch a silver medal for his country. And he continued further by making it to the quarter-finals of the US Open which he followed up by clinching his first title in 33 months at the Stockholm Open.
In between, he even steered the Argentine Davis Cup team to the final in which Del Potro will be participating at the end of this month.
The journey back to the top echelons would not have been possible for the former World No. 4 without the wildcards he could procure from quite a few tournaments and Del Potro expressed his gratitude to the tournament directors for it.
“Thanks for helping me to enjoy the best year of my life. It would not have been possible without your support,” Del Potro wrote in his Facebook post, addressing his fans.
“Thanks to the tournament directors for always having wildcards available for me. The warm welcome in every stadium I played, the love you gave me at the tournaments, the small talk when we met in the streets... It makes me proud when you tell me that you feel inspired by my recovery and that’s one of the best gifts I got in 2016.”
While reminiscing how he came back, Del Potro admitted that he did not have a normal team at the beginning and all he could do was to rely on the wholehearted support from his well-wishers.
“I didn’t have the normal team of any player, but I could rely on my family, my closest friends and you, especially the ones that supported me from every corner of my beloved country.”
The Argentine also separately dedicated a few lines to his Olympic experience and confessed that it indeed was the ‘best week of his life’. He shared that the night on which he received the medal, he did not wish to leave the stadium and wanted the moment to stay forever.
“My year on the ATP Tour has just finished and it had a very special moment, the best week of my life: the Olympic Games in Rio. That night after the medal ceremony I did not want to leave the stadium. I wanted that moment to last forever.”
The 28-year-old added that he played way more than what his doctors had suggested and he, himself was surprised at the success he got. Del Potro ended the emotional post by promising his fans, “I will never stop thanking you.”
Here is the entire post that Del Potro made: