Juan Martin Del Potro somberly admits his career could be over with latest knee surgery

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1100647/" data-ylk="slk:Juan Martin Del Potro">Juan Martin Del Potro</a> won only a single Grand Slam, but the 2009 U.S. Open still gives him a special place in tennis history. (Photo by Hannah Fountain - CameraSport/Getty Images)
Juan Martin Del Potro won only a single Grand Slam, but the 2009 U.S. Open still gives him a special place in tennis history. (Photo by Hannah Fountain - CameraSport/Getty Images)

For more than a half-decade, tennis legends Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ruled over the sport like no trio in history.

Every Grand Slam tournament was an exercise in seeing which of the three would meet each other in the semifinals, then seeing which one would come out on top a few days later. The three players won literally every Grand Slam between 2006 and 2011, with one exception.

That exception was an Argentinean power player by the name of Juan Martin Del Potro, who became the first man to beat both Federer and Nadal in a single Grand Slam on his way to the 2009 U.S. Open title. Del Potro might have won another Slam or two if it weren’t for a painful history of injuries.

Now, it looks like that injury history has possibly claimed Del Potro’s career.

Juan Martin Del Potro headed for another knee surgery

Del Potro announced with an Instagram video on Friday that he had re-fractured his right patella during a match against Denis Shapovalov at the Fever-Tree Championships on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old had previously fractured the patella late in the 2018 season, causing him to miss a good chunk of this year. Apparently, Del Potro doesn’t know if the surgery — taking place Saturday in Barcelona — will be career-ending.

A translation of Del Potro’s video:

Hi everyone. As you might already know, I fractured my right patella once again. After medical exams and talking to the doctors, they said surgery was the best treatment. I had asked them for the best option health-wise, not just for tennis. They said surgery, no doubt about it. That will happen tomorrow in Barcelona.

As you could imagine, this is a tough moment. It’s sad to go through all this once again. I didn’t expect this at all. But well ... It will happen tomorrow. I cannot say anything more than that. I don’t know what will happen next. Hopefully I will have a good recovery. I hope my knee can heal properly.

If that match was the last one of my career, that I don’t know. During rehab, I will be able to think clearly. I will know what my body is able to do. I wanted to share the news about the upcoming surgery and thank you for your support, for the strength you give me and the love you share. I thank you from my heart.

Del Potro is no stranger to recurring injuries. After all, he underwent four wrist surgeries between 2010 and 2015 for problems that bothered him for much of his prime. As a 6-foot-6 player who thrived on a dominant serve and forehand, even minor wrist issues can take away the best part of your game. Del Potro even went so far as to change his backhand in 2016 to protect his wrist.

That change coincided with a return to form for Del Potro, who won the Indian Wells and Mexican Open last year and made it to the finals of the 2018 U.S. Open. We’ll see if his career is able to continue again.

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