Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The World # 259

When Juan Martin Del Potro won the 2009 US Open tournament, his success on the tennis scene and his domination in a sport which is currently dictated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was widely acclaimed. He was heralded as a breath of fresh air for the game, lending both youth and variety to a court which had too long been run by the World Numbers 1 and 2. Del Potro’s victory against Rafael Nadal in the semi final and Roger Federer in the tournament’s title match seemed to cement him as a player of formidable mettle. At last year’s US Open, he became the first and only man to defeat both Rafa and the Maestro in the same Grand Slam tournament.

There is no doubt that this young player from Argentine may well be one of the successors to the current dominators of the sport. He is talented, fresh and level-headed; three qualities which give him the ability and potential to make it to the top. However if he is indeed this great, what is Juan Martin Del Potro doing as World Number 259?

While it seems next to impossible – a Grand Slam champion, ranked in the bottom 300 players of the world – it is unfortunately true. The 22-year-old is currently sandwiched between mediocre challenger players, Michael Lammer and Alex Kuznetsov. What is even more jarring is that Del Potro was, three months ago, World Number 9 and has now dropped 224 places to hit the bottom rungs. Also the second Argentine to win a Grand Slam in the history of tennis, he is now ranked Number 15 in his own country.

Why has Del Potro fallen so far from the top? He was sidelined in January 2010 due to a wrist injury, after the first Majors tournament of the year. He made several attempts to return to the ATP tour throughout the year. He was scheduled to defend his title at the US open, but dropped out at the last minute due to physical inability. His next attempt at making a comeback was at the 2010 PTT Thailand Open; this proved unsuccessful yet again, when he lost to Olivier Rochus in the first round in straight sets. While he gave this year’s season one more go at the 2010 Rakuten Japan Open, it resulted in a humiliating 2-set defeat to Feliciano Lopez. He then dropped out of the 2010 season in order to focus on rehab.

This week, the 800 ranking points he had amassed at last year’s World Tour Finals expired, leaving the player with just 180 points which he received after making it to the fourth round of the Australian Open earlier this year.

For all the fans who have been wondering where he is, there is good news. Juan Martin Del Potro will be making his comeback at the 2011 Australian Open in January. While his low ranking might seem to be an issue where qualification for the event is concerned, he does have the protected ranking provision option, which is supported by this particular tournament. It states that any player may petition the CEO of the ATP for Entry Protection, if he has been injured and unable to compete in any events for a minimum of six months.

Although currently one of the lowest ranking players, Del Potro exhibited talent and firepower in his 2009 run and if his rehabilitation proves successful he may be one his way to one of the most major comebacks the Open Era has ever seen.

Courtesy: Bettor

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