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US Open 2021 tennis – Juan Martin del Potro to hit with John McEnroe as he continues comeback from surgery

US Open 2021 tennis - Juan Martin del Potro to hit with John McEnroe as he continues comeback from surgery

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Juan Martin del Potro will continue his comeback from a fourth knee surgery by hitting with John McEnroe at the US Open next week.

The 33-year-old’s career has been plagued by injuries and he hasn’t played competitively since June 2019.

Earlier this year he underwent his eighth surgery – and fourth on his knee – in a bid to return to the ATP Tour. That is unlikely to happen until 2022, but next week he will be back at the grounds of the US Open, where he won his only Grand Slam title in 2009.

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According to Argentinean outlet La Nacion, former world No 3 Del Porto will hit with 62-year-old McEnroe at the Billie Jean King National Center.

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Del Porto began work on the court in May and has been training in Buenos Aires and Miami. It is reported that he is hoping for a strong pre-season at the end of the year and then a return to the tour at the start of 2022.

The last tournament Del Porto played was at Queen’s in 2019, having reached the final of the US Open a year earlier. He withdrew from Queen’s after slipping near the net in his first-round win over Denis Shapovalov. He was set to play for McEnroe’s Team World at the Laver Cup but withdrew from the tournament. Del Potro reportedly has a good relationship with McEnroe, who won the US Open four times in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984.

Del Potro has posted updates on his progress on Instagram, and wrote in June: “It’s frustrating and painful not to achieve the goals, but it would hurt much more not to try. That is why I am here once again.”

He has won 22 titles on the ATP Tour during his career.

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World No 1 Novak Djokovic, who beat Del Potro in the US Open final in 2018, described the Argentinean last year as “probably one of the most unfortunate tennis players I have known with injuries”.

“The quality of tennis that he possesses and with that much time that he had in career that he played, he already has amazing career, but, it’s really unfortunate to see him struggle so much.

“His fighting spirit and resilience to come back is something that’s very inspiring to me and to everyone else. He’s a gentle giant, a very likeable guy. I know there is probably no one that wants to play tennis more than him right now, and he’s, I’m sure, doing everything he possibly can.”

Our view – Del Potro return would be amazing

Seeing Del Potro’s huge forehand on a court again would be a joy.

He has been involved in some memorable matches throughout the years; his epic 2009 US Open final win over Roger Federer, saving three match points to beat Federer again and claim his first Masters title at Miami in 2018, his thrilling Olympic clashes with Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic.

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But he has also been incredibly unlucky with injuries and it’s hard to think that he has many years left on the tour, especially if he suffers another serious setback. Still, it would be great if he can get back to fitness and grace the tour with his exciting game again.

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