What's the logic behind Del Potro's decision to play doubles in the China Open?
After a hard fought win over the Russian next gen star Karen Khachanov, Juan Martin del Potro is scheduled to play another big server in Krajinovic in the quarterfinals of the China Open. If he wins this match as is expected, he will have to play two more tough matches to win the China Open.
Knowing Del Potro, he is going to pour his heart and soul into these matches. Assuming that everything goes according to plan, the Argentine will play the final on Sunday and will leave for Shanghai immediately and play his first match at Shanghai Masters within a couple of days. A very hectic schedule, and the 6’ 6” Tower of Tandil must manage his injury-prone body, especially his left wrist well.
But apparently, he and his team probably feel that he needs to test himself. That’s why they decided that Del Potro needs to play doubles matches as well. He played two doubles matches partnering his countryman Leonardo Mayer in the China Open, and both matches went the distance.
Luckily, one would assume, the pair lost their quarterfinal match to Dodig and Mektic. The worst case scenario would have been him going on to play both singles and doubles for consecutive days till the finals on Sunday! One may argue that at some point, he may have withdrawn from his doubles semi-final (if he were to reach there) to focus on singles. In that case, wouldn’t that have been unfair to his partner, Leonardo Mayer?
How many times do we see the big three playing doubles in ATP 500 or ATP 1000 tournaments? It is one thing for much younger players such as Alexander Zverev to play both the singles and doubles, even though one could justifiably make a case for the junior Zverev not playing doubles so that he could focus on his singles matches and not lose to journeymen like Malek Jaziri.
But when someone is 30 and has a history of injuries, including multiple career-threatening wrist surgeries, how advisable is it to risk playing doubles along with the singles?
As a fan of the ever lovable Argentine, one is worried that he and his team are taking way too many unnecessary risks with his body by making him play doubles matches, which demand a lot from the body and in some way, disrupt the flow and rhythm of singles play. For his sake, and for the sake of Tennis itself, one hopes that his team manages his workload wisely so that fans can see an injury-free Del Potro in full flow in his thirties, a' la a Roger Federer!