With Rafa Nadal’s knees the most discussed injury issue in Tennis, Al Dannity is fascinated by a man who has suffered as much as the Spaniard without the same media debate. A battered and bruised Juan Martin Del Potro will try to stop Novak Djokovic on Friday.
It hurts. Where? Everywhere. That’s been the case for Juan Martin Del Potro for some time now. Since winning his first and, to date, only major at the US Open, the Argentinean has suffered through more injuries than most elite sportsmen. While the slam was a breakthrough for Del Potro, it wasn’t enough to elevate him to Big Four status. The people expected more. His body had other ideas. The road back hasn’t been easy but Delpo is an established top ten player. The Big Four still hover over him but no-one else, not even David Ferrer, can challenge the Argentinean on his best day.
The problem for Del Potro is that his body rarely allows him to have his best day. On Wednesday he went into his match with Ferrer in absolute agony. A drawn-out war simply wasn’t on the cards. Whatever plans Ferrer had for their clash, Del Potro was going to finish this in three sets no matter who took the win. He was aggressive from the off because he had no other option. Time would not allow Del Potro to ease off or play conservatively. Every minute spent on that court was only increasing his pain. Every man has a breaking point. The Argentinean’s plan was to get off the court before he reached his. A straight sets win, 6-2 6-4 7-6, kept him on course. His reward is a place in the Semi Finals. His punishment will be to put his body through the ringer again.
With the possible exception of Rafael Nadal, no man is better suited to punishing an ailing Del Potro than Novak Djokovic. The Serbian has power, speed, and the ruthless streak necessary to be the best in the world at what he does. Even at his best, Del Potro would be an underdog against Djokovic. On Friday he will be a long way short physically. Agony will not deter him. Del Potro will go out there and suffer. He will demand the best from Djokovic and in return he will get it. I don’t like the Argentinean to win the match but I love his guts.