Juan Martin del Potro recorded a shocking second-round win on Friday, knocking fourth seed Stan Wawrinka out of the men’s singles at Wimbledon.
Del Potro secured a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 victory over the Swiss player.
Here are five fast facts to know about del Potro:
1. The Argentine Is Ranked 165th After Enduring Multiple Wrist Surgeries
Del Potro defeated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back to back to win the 2009 United States Open at age 20. However, since winning the US Open seven years ago, he has endured injury problems including four surgeries on his left and right wrists. Del Potro missed more than two years due to injuries.
It has been three years since he last played at the All England Club, reaching the 2013 semi-finals during his last appearance.
“I’m enjoying tennis again,” del Potro said after winning his first match at the beginning of the week. “I’m starting to talk about tennis and no more about my wrist. That’s important.”
2. Del Potro Won in a Tie-Break, Before Taking the Fourth Set
Del Potro stunned Wawrinka, who is the highest seed to exit the men’s tournament thus far.
“It feels amazing,” Del Potro told BBC Sport. “I beat one of the guys who is playing great tennis this season and I couldn’t have expected this before today.”
“I enjoyed the crowd, they were incredible and I’m very happy,” he said. “It is my second or third career now after all the injuries. I was sad for the last two years and now I am enjoying playing tennis again. I feel alive.”
3. He Is a Former World No. 4
Del Potro is relatively young at age 27, however he has already withstood many ups and downs. Injuries forced him to approach the game in an entirely new way.
“I believe on myself, I believe on my wrist,” del Potro told BBC Sport. “I would like to get better faster than I’m doing now, but that could be dangerous for my body. I’m working hard mentally, too, because I have to deal with some pains and some frustrations when I want to hit a good backhands and I cannot do it.”
“I hope to be ready for being aggressive player on next season.”
Del Potro is playing in his first Grand Slam since the Australian Open in 2014. In January 2010, he reached a career-high ranking of World No. 4, however shortly after del Potro had to withdraw from most of the tournaments in 2010 due to a wrist injury.
4. He considered Retirement Following Last Season
In June 2015, Del Potro underwent his fourth wrist surgery– this time casting doubt on the future of his career.
He considered retirement at the end of last season, according to The New York Times, but he chose to keep fighting.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Juan Martín,” said Dr. Richard Berger, del Potro’s surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Berger said he handled the challenges with an incredibly tough mindset. He called Del Potro “a poster child for an unbreakable faith in his recovery and a dogged determination to come back, including modifying his swing, one of the most difficult things for a champion to do.”
5. He Began Playing Tennis at Seven Years Old & Broke Through in 2008
Del Potro began his tennis training at the age of seven. His talent was discovered by Italian ex-tennis professional Ugo Colombini who was his agent until 2013. By the time Del Potro was 15 years old, he had won his first senior match.
In 2008, Del Potro had a breakthrough year, becoming the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments. He also completed the second-longest winning streak in 2008, and the second longest by a teenager in the Open Era– winning 23 matches over five tournaments.
Del Potro has earned $15,554,466 in prize money since turning pro in 2005.
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