Juan Martin del Potro loses in Argentina Open comeback as he nears retirement

Juan Martin del Potro, who last played in March 2019, lost 1-6, 3-6 to compatriot Federico Delbonis in the first round of the Argentina Open.

Juan Martin del Potro in action at the Argentina Open. (Twitter: @atptour)

Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro lost his first tennis match upon his return after a nearly three-year gap.

Del Potro, who last played in March 2019, lost 1-6, 3-6 to compatriot Federico Delbonis in the first round of the Argentina Open on Wednesday (February 9).

It was a comeback many didn’t believe they would see. Sadly, as revealed by the man himself afterwards, it might very well be the last time he is seen on court.

There was a point in the middle of the match where he got emotional and the match was held up. Fans chose that moment to serenade their hero, leading to a wonderful on-court moment.

“It’s difficult to explain how I felt on the court. So many emotions,” del Potro said after the match.

“The atmosphere was crazy, the people were crazy. And I had one of my best ever matches in my career with the crowd.”

After the loss, he draped his bandana over the net. It was a gesture as symbolic as they come, and Del Potro confirmed afterwards he was unsure of playing again.

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, because the pain in my knee is very high. But I will keep doing a big effort to fix the knee. And if I get that, maybe I will have another chance to play.”

‘So many feelings knowing I would play Juan Martin del Potro

Delbonis was the victor on the day but even he knew that everyone had come to see Del Potro. And he said that he felt many things when he found out he would face his compatriot and friend.

“There were so many feelings before the match when I knew I was going to play Juan Martin,” Delbonis said after his victory.

“The days before were very exciting. So many things were going through my mind. Of course when I got on the court, when I see all the people there, the court was packed. It was amazing.

“I think the match as well was quite emotional. I want to leave the tennis on the side for a moment and try to express all the emotions that we had in the match.”

And emotional it was for Juan Martin del Potro. He had requested about 80 tickets for friends and family. This included his mother, who saw her son play live for the first time.

Whether or not this happens again is something only time will tell.

Sportslumo Desk

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