Juan Martín del Potro, the three-seed of the U.S. Open, is squaring off against Novak Djokovic in the final today.
Del Potro was born in Argentina. His biggest accomplishment thus far was winning the 2009 U.S. Open against Roger Federer, having beaten Nadal in the semifinal.
Here’s what you need to know about his family.
1. Del Potro’s Was a ‘Noted’ Rugby Player Before Becoming a Veterinarian
According to The New York Times, del Potro’s father was a ‘noted’ rugby player in Tandil, Argentina, before becoming a veterinarian. Del Potro chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps, though, and instead opted to split his time between soccer and tennis growing up.
Del Potro has hinted that he might give soccer a try professionally in the future, though that might be unlikely given his recent success in the tennis world.
Of his love for tennis, del Potro explained how it all began to Independent. He said, “It was one day when I arrived early at soccer practice, and I had nothing to do, that a friend gave me a tennis racket. I hit a ball against a wall, and then I said to my parents that I wanted to start playing tennis as well. I played both until I was 12 years old, then I chose tennis. But I still love soccer.”
2. Del Potro’s Older Sister Died in a Car Accident at Eight Years Old
Though not much is known about her, del Potro revealed to Independent that he had a sister who died in a car accident when she was eight years old. Del Potro explained that her death lent perspective to his own spirituality, adding, “I believe that she protects me from the sky. She was eight years old. It was a car accident in Argentina. I was five or six, so it was much worse for my parents.”
Del Potro can often be seen crossing himself with the Christian cross after clenching a victory.
3. Del Potro Dated Argentine Singer & Actress Jimena Baron Before They Broke Up Last February
Del Potro dated Argentine singer and actress Jimena Baron for upwards of a year, before they called it quits last February.
Baron and Del Potro still have pictures up of one another on their Instagram accounts. Upon breaking up in February, Baron posted a cryptic tweet that hinted at her relationship status: translated into English, she wrote, “There is no greater responsibility than being completely free.”
4. Del Potro Opened Up About Having to Seek Help in the Wake of His Breakup
At a press conference at the Delray Beach Open in February, Del Potro opened up about working with a sports psychologist, Juan José Grande, to move through some traumatic experiences, including his breakup with Barron and the death of his beloved dog.
In an Instagram post, Del Potro wrote a touching tribute to his dog, Cesar, which translated to, “I will miss you a lot, faithful mate.You were next to me for almost ten years, you waited for me with happiness after every trip, you made an entire family happy and today you go resting in peace leaving your mark in my heart. Goodbye, Cesar.”
5. Del Potro Nearly Quit Tennis After a Wrist Injury
From 2010 to 2014, Del Potro fought an increasingly painful wrist injury that continued to get in the way of his professional success on the court. After his win over Marin Cilic in the French Open quarter-finals in 2018, Del Potro said of overcoming his injury,
“It has been a long time without a good feeling in my body. I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting. I don’t have any words. It’s so good for my team and my family. I am so proud to be playing tennis. I feel at home here.”