Juan Martín del Potro

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DelPotro_0914-3

Juan Martín del Potro (born 23 September 1988) is an Argentine professional tennis player who is the highest-ranked Argentine and the 5th-ranked player in the world. He is the reigning US Open champion after defeating Roger Federer in the 2009 final.

Del Potro achieved a top 10 ranking by the Association of Tennis Professionals for the first time on October 6, 2008. In April 2009, he reached a career-high ranking of World No. 5.

In August 2008, he became the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments. He also completed the second longest winning streak in 2008, and the second longest by a teenager in the open era, behind Rafael Nadal — with his winning sequence spanning 23 matches over five tournaments.

Early life

Del Potro was born in Tandil, Argentina. His father Daniel del Potro, played semi-professional rugby union in Argentina and is a veterinarian. His mother Patricia is a teacher and he has a younger sister named Julieta. Del Potro speaks fluent Spanish and knows some Italian and English. Aside from tennis, he enjoys playing football and supports the Boca Juniors team in Argentina and Juventus in Italy. He would often dedicate time to both sports during his childhood. Italian international footballer Mauro Camoranesi remains a close friend of Del Potro’s.

He began playing tennis at age seven with coach Marcelo Gómez (who also coached Tandil-born players Juan Mónaco, Mariano Zabaleta and Máximo González). Del Potro’s talent was discovered by Italian ex-tennis professional Ugo Colombini, who accompanied him through the initial phases of his young career, and is still today his agent and close friend.

Tennis career

2003

At the age of 14, Del Potro received wildcards to three ITF Circuit events in Argentina, where he lost in the first round of each.

2004

In 2004, Del Potro won his first professional match, at the age of 15, at the ITF Circuit event in Buenos Aires by defeating Matias Niemiz, he then went on to lose in the second round. Later that year, Del Potro reached the quarterfinals of the ITF Circuit event in Campinas, Brazil. He also reached the finals in the Argentina Cup and Campionati Internazionali D’Italia Junior tournaments.

2005

Del Potro began the year by reaching the finals of the ITF Junior Circuit called “Copa del Café” (Coffee Bowl) in Costa Rica, which he lost to Robin Haase. He was a crowd favorite and was widely known for his short temper.

He went on to reach the quarterfinals of the ITF Circuit event in El Salvador. At the age of 16, he reached his second professional singles final at the International Casablanca Cup in Mexico where he lost to Darko Madjarovski. He also won consecutive titles at two Junior ITF Circuit events in Santiago, Chile, including the 26th International Junior tournament. He won his third title in his home country by defeating Damian Patriarca at the ITF Circuit event in Cordoba, Argentina.

After turning pro later that year, he reached the final of the Campos do Jordao Challenger in Brazil where he lost to André Sá. At age 17, he won the Montevideo Challenger by defeating Boris Pašanski in the finals. That same year, he also attempted to qualify for his first Grand Slam at the US Open. After ending 2005 ranked #1,077 in the world, Del Potro jumped over 900 positions, largely due to winning three Futures tournaments.

2006

In February, Del Potro played his first ATP tour event in Viña del Mar where he defeated Albert Portas in the first round before losing to Fernando González in the second round. Later, he won the Aguascalientes Challenger by defeating Sergio Roitman in the final.

Del Potro qualified for the main draw of his first Grand Slam in the 2006 French Open, at the age of 17, where he lost in the opening round to former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. Later that year, he reached the quarterfinals of the ATP event in Umag, Croatia where he lost to the eventual champion, Stanislas Wawrinka. In Spain, he won the Segovia Challenger by defeating Benjamin Becker in the finals.

Del Potro qualified for his first US Open in 2006, where he lost in the first round to Alejandro Falla. He went on to qualify for his first ATP Masters Series tournament in Spain where he lost in the first round to Joachim Johansson. Having received an invitation, thanks to Roger Federer, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland where he lost to the eventual runner-up Fernando González.

2007

Del Potro began the year by reaching his first semifinal in ATP Adelaide, Australia, where he lost to Chris Guccione. He would then reach the second round of the Australian Open where he had to retire in his match against Fernando González in the fifth set.

On February 11, Del Potro played for Argentina at the first round of the Davis Cup against Austria winning the 4th and definite rubber, giving Argentina the classification for the quarterfinals.

He reached the second round of the Pacific Life Open and went on to reach the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open where he defeated Jonas Björkman, Marcos Baghdatis, and Mikhail Youzhny before falling to Rafael Nadal. In May, he lost in the first round of the French Open to eventual champion, Rafael Nadal.

In his first grass court event, Del Potro reached the second round at Queen’s Club where he lost to Rafael Nadal. He also reached the quarterfinals in Nottingham the following week where he lost to Croatian, Ivo Karlovi?. At his inaugural Wimbledon, he defeated Davide Sanguinetti in the first round before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer in the second round.

Del Potro qualified for the ATP Masters Series event in Cincinnati where he reached the third round before losing to Carlos Moya. He partnered with Travis Parrott to win the doubles title at the ATP event in Indianapolis. At the US Open, he defeated Nicolas Mahut and Jürgen Melzer before losing to eventual finalist Novak Djokovi? in the third round in straight sets. He also reached the third round of the Madrid Masters before losing to eventual champion David Nalbandian.

2008

The Argentine enjoyed his best season to date in 2008, winning four titles and finishing in the Top 10 for the first time. He also finished as the country’s number one player and the highest ranked South American, ahead of David Nalbandian. Del Potro started the season, losing in the first round in Adelaide to Michael Russel and then made it to the second round of the Australian Open in January, retiring in his match against David Ferrer due to an injury. Del Potro returned to the circuit in March, winning his first match against Jesse Levine, 7–5, 6–1 at the Sony Ericsson Open. In June, he reached the semi-finals of the Ordina Open, losing to eventual winner David Ferrer in straight sets.

After losing in the second round of Wimbledon, an outstanding summer followed for the Argentine. Del Potro won his first career ATP tour title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, defeating Richard Gasquet in straight sets in the final. A week later, Del Potro reached his second career ATP Tour final at the Austrian Open in Kitzbühel, where he beat local hope and sixth seed Jürgen Melzer 6–2, 6–1, in less than an hour, to claim his second title in two weeks. He won his third consecutive title at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles, beating Andy Roddick in 6–1, 7–6(2) in the final. A fourth consecutive title followed a week later in the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington D.C., where he recorded a 6–3, 6–3 victory over Viktor Troicki, becoming the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments.

Del Potro at the US Open

At the 2008 US Open, del Potro progressed to the third round, where he won his first match to five sets in the circuit against Gilles Simon to reach the last 16. He went on to defeat Kei Nishikori in straight sets. In the quarter-finals, he was stopped by Andy Murray, losing in four tight sets after almost four hours. By reaching the quarter-finals, he achieved a career best result at a Grand Slam. He was defeated after 23 consecutive victories: the second longest winning streak in 2008 and the longest winning streak by a player outside the top 10 in the last 20 years.

He was selected to play the Davis Cup tie between Argentina and Russia, which took place on September 19–21. He won his first singles match against Nikolay Davydenko in three sets 6–1, 6–4, 6–2. He also won the fifth and deciding match against Igor Andreev in straight sets 6–4, 6–2, 6–1, booking Argentina a place in the final.

At the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships, he made the final by defeating number 11 seed Jarkko Nieminen, number one seed and defending champion David Ferrer, and number four seed Richard Gasquet. He was defeated by Tomáš Berdych 6–1, 6–4 in the final. After the match, both Berdych and del Potro commented that he was not playing his best tennis.

At the Madrid Masters he lost in the quarter-finals in straight sets to Roger Federer. He reached the semifinals of his next tournament, the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, before losing to countryman David Nalbandian, and was beaten by Nalbandian again, in the second round of the Paris Masters. This left del Potro’s qualification for the Tennis Masters Cup out of his hands; fortunately for him, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat James Blake in the semifinals, which was enough to ensure his place at the year-end event.

Del Potro won one match at the Masters Cup, against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but lost his other two matches, against the higher ranked Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko, meaning that he exited the tournament in the round robin stage. This was his last event of the year on the ATP Tour. He went on to lose one rubber in the Davis Cup final, against Feliciano Lopez, as his team succumbed to a 3–1 loss against Spain. He was forced to withdraw from his second match due to a thigh injury.

2009

At the 2009 French Open, Del Potro made the semi-finals, losing to eventual champion Roger Federer.

At the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, Del Potro was the top seed for the tournament. He defeated American Sam Querrey in the final 6–4, 6–4 to win the title, the fifth of his career. Seeded eighth at the Australian Open, Del Potro lost in straight sets to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals 6–3, 6–0, 6–0.

At the BNP Paribas Open, as the sixth seed Del Potro advanced to the quarterfinals, where he was eventually defeated by world no. 1 Rafael Nadal 6–2, 6–4. Del Potro avenged that loss the following week at the Sony Ericsson Open, where he came back from a double break down in the third set at 0–3 to defeat Nadal in the quarterfinals 6–4, 3–6, 7–6(3). This was the first time Del Potro had defeated Rafael Nadal. Despite a 6–1, 5–7, 6–2 loss in the semi-finals to Andy Murray, Del Potro reached a career high of world number five.

In the clay court season, Del Potro was eliminated in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters by Ivan Ljubicic. In Rome, Del Potro advanced to the quarterfinals where he was defeated by defending champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Del Potro then played at the 2009 Madrid Masters. After defeating Andy Murray for the first time in the quarter-finals, he lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals 6–3, 6–4.

At the French Open, Del Potro defeated Michael Llodra, Viktor Troicki, Igor Andreev, and the number nine seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to the quarterfinals. He then defeated 3-time former quarterfinalist Tommy Robredo to get to his first semi-final. He was defeated in a close semi-final 3–6, 7–6 (7-2), 2–6, 6–1, 6–4, by eventual champion Roger Federer. Prior to this encounter, Del Potro had never taken a set off Federer in their 5 previous career meetings.

At the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, his poor grass court form from the past continued on, as he went down to unseeded Lleyton Hewitt 6–3, 7–5, 7–5 in the second round. A few weeks later, he defeated Hewitt in Washington 4–6, 6–3, 7–6(2), and also beat Fernando Gonzalez 7–6(2), 6–3 en route to the final. He successfully defended his title against top seeded Wimbledon-finalist Andy Roddick 3–6, 7–5, 7–6(6) to win his second tournament of the year, and become the first player since Andre Agassi (1998–1999) to win back-to-back Washington titles.

He played the following week at the Masters 1000 in Montreal, where he was seeded sixth, defeating world no. 2 Nadal in the quarter-finals 7–6(5), 6–1; this was his second win in a row over Nadal. He then defeated Roddick in the semi-finals 4–6, 6–2, 7–5, saving a match point, to advance to his first Masters 1000 final, and improve his head-to-head record against Roddick to 3–0. In the final, he lost against Murray 6–7(4), 7–6(3), 6–1. He withdrew from the next Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati due to fatigue.

Seeded sixth at the 2009 US Open, Del Potro began by defeating Juan Monaco and Jurgen Melzer in straight sets, before dropping a set but defeating Daniel Köllerer to reach the 4th round. He defeated a resurgent Juan Carlos Ferrero 6–3, 6–3, 6–3 to advance to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. Del Potro would then advance to his first hard court semi-final by defeating Marin Cilic 4–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–1. Del Potro was down a set and a break, before winning 17 of the final 20 games, and breaking Cilic’s serve 8 times in the last three sets. His advance to the semi-finals ensured his return to the top five in the world rankings. He then defeated world No. 3 and reigning Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal 6–2, 6–2, 6–2 in the semi-finals to reach his first Grand Slam final. This was his third consecutive victory over Nadal, and made him the first Argentine to reach a Grand Slam singles final since Mariano Puerta at the 2005 French Open. Del Potro went one better, rallying from down a set and a break to defeat World No. 1 and five-time defending U.S. Open champion Roger Federer 3–6, 7–6(5), 4–6, 7–6(4), 6–2; this was his first victory over Federer after six previous defeats, and Federer’s first loss in the US Open since 2003. He is the first non-European to win a Grand Slam since Gaston Gaudio in 2004, and the second South American male to win the US Open (the first being Guillermo Vilas in 1977). He became the first player since countryman David Nalbandian to defeat Federer at the US Open, the first player other than Rafael Nadal to defeat Federer in a Grand Slam final, and the first player to defeat both Nadal and Federer in the same Grand Slam tournament.

Playing style

Del Potro is primarily an offensive baseliner with a powerful first serve and solid groundstrokes. His forehand shot is his most powerful weapon and he also possesses a very consistent double-handed backhand. Despite his height, Del Potro is also considered one of the best movers on the ATP tour, able to move efficiently on various surfaces like clay and hard courts. Del Potro’s height allows him to get a powerful first serve, and not be bothered by high topspin balls. Del Potro’s best surfaces are hard and clay, but generally his game is suited to all surfaces. His forehand is one of the hardest on the ATP-Tour.

Equipment and apparel

Del Potro currently uses the Wilson (K)Factor (K)Six-One 95 Racquet, and is sponsored by Nike.

Career statistics

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (1)

Outcome ? Year ? Championship ? Surface ? Opponent in the final ? Score in the final ?
Winner 2009 US Open Hard Flag of Switzerland Roger Federer 3–6, 7–6(5), 4–6, 7–6(4), 6–2

ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals

Runner-up (1)

Outcome ? Year ? Championship ? Surface ? Opponent in the final ? Score in the final ?
Runner-up 2009 Montreal Hard Flag of the United Kingdom Andy Murray 6–7(4), 7–6(3), 6–1

Singles: 9 (7–2)

Wins (7)

Winner – Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam tournaments (1)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (3)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (3)
Titles by Surface
Hard (5)
Clay (2)
Grass (0)
Carpet (0)

Runner-ups (2)

Runner-up – Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam Tournaments (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (1)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (1)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (0)
Titles by Surface
Hard (2)
Clay (0)
Grass (0)
Carpet (0)
Outcome ? No. ? Date ? Tournament ? Surface ? Opponent in Final ? Score ?
Winner 1. 13 July, 2008 Stuttgart, Germany Clay Flag of France Richard Gasquet 6–4, 7–5
Winner 2. 20 July, 2008 Kitzbühel, Austria Clay Flag of Austria Jürgen Melzer 6–2, 6–1
Winner 3. 10 August, 2008 Los Angeles, United States Hard Flag of the United States Andy Roddick 6–1, 7–6(2)
Winner 4. 17 August, 2008 Washington, D.C., U.S. Hard Flag of Serbia Viktor Troicki 6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 5. 5 October, 2008 Tokyo, Japan Hard Flag of the Czech Republic Tomáš Berdych 6–1, 6–4
Winner 6. 17 January, 2009 Auckland, New Zealand Hard Flag of the United States Sam Querrey 6–4, 6–4
Winner 7. 9 August, 2009 Washington D.C., U.S. (2) Hard Flag of the United States Andy Roddick 3–6, 7–5, 7–6(6)
Runner-up 8. 16 August, 2009 Montreal, Canada Hard Flag of the United Kingdom Andy Murray 6–7(4), 7–6(3), 6–1
Winner 9. 14 September, 2009 US Open, USA Hard Flag of Switzerland Roger Federer 3–6, 7–6(5), 4–6, 7–6(4), 6–2

Doubles: 1 (1–0)

Wins (1)

Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam Tournaments (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (0)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (1)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1)
Clay (0)
Grass (0)
Carpet (0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score
Winner 1. 30 July, 2007 Indianapolis, U.S. Hard Flag of the United States Travis Parrott Flag of Russia Teimuraz Gabashvili
Flag of Croatia Ivo Karlovi?
3–6, 6–2, 10–6

Singles performance timeline

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only after a tournament or the player’s participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the 2009 US Open, which concluded on September 14, 2009.

Tournament 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Career W-L
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A 2R 2R QF 6–3
French Open A 1R 1R 2R SF 6–4
Wimbledon A A 2R 2R 2R 3–3
US Open A 1R 3R QF W 13–3
Win-Loss 0–0 0–2 4–4 7–4 17–3 21–13
Year-End Championship
Tennis Masters Cup A A A RR 1–2
Olympic Games
Summer Olympics Not Held A NH 0–0
ATP Masters 1000
Indian Wells Masters A A 2R A QF 4–2
Miami Masters A A 4R 2R SF 8–3
Monte Carlo Masters A A A A 2R 0–1
Rome Masters A A A 1R QF 2–2
Madrid Masters A 1R 3R QF SF 9–4
Canada Masters A A 1R A F 4–2
Cincinnati Masters A A 3R A A 2–1
Shanghai Masters Not Masters Series 0–0
Paris Masters A A 2R 3R 2–2
Hamburg Masters A A A A NM1 0–0
Career Statistics
ATP Finals Reached 0 0 0 5 3 8
ATP Tournaments Won 0 0 0 4 3 7
Year End Ranking 157 92 44 9 107–60

Walkovers are neither official wins nor official losses. To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

Terms to know
SR the ratio of the number of singles tournaments
won to the number of those tournaments played
W-L player’s Win-Loss record
Performance Table Legend
NH tournament not held in that calendar year A did not participate in the tournament
LQ lost in qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(RR = round robin)
QF advanced to but not past the quarterfinals SF advanced to but not past the semifinals
F advanced to the final, tournament runner-up W won the tournament
NMS means an event that was not an ATP Masters Series tournament.
NM1 means an event that was not an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

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