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Juan Martin Del Potro made a tantalising hint about a possible comeback as he returned to the US Open 13 years after winning the title. The former world No 3 last played at his home tournament in Argentina earlier this year and admitted it was likely the end of his career having battled with a knee injury since 2018.
Del Potro made a guest appearance at the US Open on Wednesday and has been attending the tournament every day since. The Argentine famously won the title back in 2009 as a 20-year-old, ending Roger Federer’s five-year streak as the champion and handing the Swiss star his first defeat in Flushing Meadows since 2003.
The 33-year-old has been hit with a series of injuries ever since, taking time out for a wrist injury in 2010 and again in 2014, only returning two years later. He won Olympic silver at Rio 2016 and in 2018 won his first Masters title, reached world No 3 and made a second US Open final, ten years after the first.
But later that year he injured his knee in Shanghai and was sidelined for half a year, making a short-lived comeback in 2019 before damaging it further at Queens. He then did not play until February this year, losing his only match in Argentina and admitting it was likely the end of his career, but Del Potro has now offered new hope of a comeback.
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The 2009 champion in Flushing Meadows is back on-site as a guest this year and admitted that he was still trying to find a treatment for his troublesome knee, and would consider making a return to competition if one was successful. “I keep trying treatments, hoping to find one that can help me improve my quality of life and be fine with my knee,” he told ESPN.
“The priority is to live without pain, I am still looking for the right treatment and the window to resume competition will be open.” And the 22-time title winner revealed that the US Open tournament director had also extended an invitation to him for a potential final farewell at the event next year, hinting that he could play one final match in Flushing Meadows.
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He continued: “If I improvise, I want to try to get back to the circuit. And today here—in New York—he told me about the opportunity to bid me farewell next year.” Tennis Channel’s Brett Haber also confirmed the news after speaking with the Argentine.
“Among things @delpotrojuan mentioned tonight was discussion he had with @usopen officials in which they told him they would welcome him back for a farewell entry next year if he decided to play again. He then reminded me that his protected ranking is still valid,” he tweeted, noting that Del Potro may not even need a wildcard to compete if he wanted to return in the near future.
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