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End of an era: Del Potro stopped appearing in the ATP ranking and his future in tennis is unknown

Before the “freezing of points” due to the obstacles generated by the pandemic, tennis players used to affirm that the ranking does not forgive, which is the true sample of reality. In this case, that statement is once again one hundred percent real. Juan Martín del Potro (33 years old) disappeared from the ATP ranking: With just one game on the circuit since June 2019 (this year, in Buenos Aires), the 23 points that he had from the Queen’s ATP 2019 went away and this Monday it was zero.

Del Potro’s latest record, released last week, was 761st. Number 3 in the world on August 13, 2018, the Argentine lived a nightmare since October 2018 when he fractured his right kneecap during a match against Croatian Borna Coric, at the Masters 1000 in Shanghai. After some minimally invasive treatments, he damaged his knee again on the British grass at Queen’s on June 19, 2019, in the victory against Canadian Denis Shapovalov, and from that moment the operating room was the only feasible path for him. He underwent surgery four times and with different foreign doctors. On February 8, after 965 days without officially setting foot on a tennis court, he returned to play, in tears and physically fragile: he did so in the Buenos Aires ATP and fell to Federico Delbonis from Azul 6-1 and 6- 3.

An emotional moment last February: Del Potro hung the headband on the net after losing to Delbonis at the ATP in Buenos Aires, as a symbol of the end.
An emotional moment last February: Del Potro hung the headband on the net after losing to Delbonis at the ATP in Buenos Aires, as a symbol of the end.

“My last game was on the field and not in conference. And that is what I wanted”, said Del Potro, the most important Argentine tennis player in the history of our country after Guillermo Vilas. With moist eyes and applause on the night of the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, he added: “I had been making a lot of effort for three months to play here. I had to make the decision to stop and leave tennis aside to see an alternative for the knee. I put that point tonight and I return to resume life. It will not be with tennis now, because it is not compatible. I have to improve my leg because I have a hard time living. There are cases in tennis that close the blind and then miraculously come back. I will always leave that window open. But if today was the last time, I was happy.”

Del Potro, without ranking: this is how the man from Tandil appeared in the ATP classification this Monday. ATP

A few days after that performance, Del Potro traveled to Switzerland and attended the Rennbahnklinik sports clinic, in Muttenz, a commune in the canton of Basel-Countryside. Valuable in “orthopedics, sports medicine, physiotherapy and functional diagnosis”, the Swiss medical center also treated, among other athletes, tennis players Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece), Fabio Fognini (Italy) and Pablo Andújar (Spain). The result of his passage or treatment by the Rennbahnklinik was not made public.

Usually reserved, in recent months Del Potro He used his social networks to give his opinion or make announcements on topics unrelated to tennis. Which? Especially to the formula 1 and his bond with different pilots. He is also another of the athletes who joined the movement of the “NFT” (The acronym refers to token no fungible, which refers to a digital asset that cannot be consumed or replaced). One of the few tennis comments he made on Twitter was during the Roland Garros quarterfinal match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on May 31.

Del Potro and driver Checo Pérez before the Miami Grand Prix;  The man from Tandil is linked to Formula 1 and expresses it this way on his social networks.
Del Potro and driver Checo Pérez before the Miami Grand Prix; The man from Tandil is linked to Formula 1 and expresses it this way on his social networks.

In this context, Del Potro’s “sports” future is a real unknown. While many assert that he will no longer play professional tennis, a few are confident that he does have a few more chapters in store. His admission to the court in recent months was to participate in private events or exhibitions related to his sponsors. For now, according to LA NACION, Del Potro is the one appointed by businessman Lisandro Borges to be the Nadal’s rival in an exhibition that it is close to materializing and that it would be played on November 23 in the Roca Park of the City of Buenos Aires.

On May 10, 2004, at the age of 15 and just over seven months, Del Potro took out his first ATP point. He was in the Future Argentina 3, at the Highland Park Country Club in Pilar, beating Matías Niemiz, who was 1048th in the world, in the first round 6-4 and 6-2. The man from Tandil appeared in the rankings, being the 1415th in the world, in the week of May 24 and, since then, he had never come out.

Federer almost out of the Top 100

Inactivity does not forgive Del Potro in the ranking or anyone else. The Swiss can say the same Roger Federer, who last performed in July 2021, at Wimbledon, and since Monday appears in 96th place. The winner of 20 Grand Slam trophies, who is scheduled to reappear in September during the Laver Cup and then, in October, perform at the ATP in his hometown of Basel, had not had a ranking of that magnitude since the week of October 4 1999, when it was 106th.

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