Coming back from a wrist injury is never an easy thing. Twenty-two year old Argentine, Juan Martin Del Potro was on top of the tennis world at the end of 2009 season, rising to a career high number 4 world ranking. He had come back from a set and a break down to beat Roger Federer in the 2009 US Open final, making the atmosphere at Billy Jean King stadium seem like a hometown Argentinean tennis match. During Del Potro’s year end run, he had also won in Washington, made the finals at the Montreal Masters and at the year end ATP World Tour Finals in London. In addition, he had smacked current number 1, Rafael Nadal all around the court in their two year end hard court meetings.
Del Potro has developed one of the best serves in the game, and hits the hardest from both the forehand and backhand sides than any other player on tour. For a big man, he covers the court so well and uses his long wing span to get the majority of his opponents’ first serves back in play. He is also as classy off the court as he is on, spending substantial time after matches signing autographs and just being a great ambassador of the game.
Has Del Potro returned to the high level of play that made him the best hard court player on the tour during the end of the 2009 tennis year? Perhaps not yet, but after losing in the second round at the Australian Open, Del Potro has made the semi-finals in San Jose and Memphis, where he lost to top ten players in Verdasco and Roddick, respectively. He has raised his 431st world ranking, as of this past January 31st, to currently 166th. Del Potro has also been winning quite comfortably in Delray Beach, though his competition has been a bit sub par. Tonight’s semi-final match against American Mardy Fish will be a good test that I believe the hard hitting Argentine will pass with flying colors. For a player to have such a good head on his shoulders and such a powerful game at the young age of 22, means that the sky is the limit and that there’s no reason why Del Potro can’t be the world number one in the near future.