Del Potro, Big Willy and the game of his life

November 27, 2016. More than eleven thousand kilometers from Buenos Aires and with more than 15 thousand spectators in the imposing and overflowing Arena Zagreb, in the capital of Croatia and at 12:15 exactly in Argentine time, Juan Martín Del Potro generated perhaps the greatest flash of talent and he placed the first brick to build the maximum conquest of national tennis.

Pulled open from the even side, Marin Cilic demanded it with a deep return and the answer was short. The Croatian brought him with a drop and took him back again but he found a genius: already defeated and on his back, Delpo took out a magical Big Willy that transformed into a balloon and that it would change history forever. The Argentine, who had a two-set deficit, served 15-15 at the start of the third and had to resort to physio three times due to cramps, beat fate, leveled the Davis Cup final and it gave Federico Delbonis the chance to complete the feat. The game of his life.

Almost five years later the former number three in the world has another game of his life ahead: he has not played for more than two seasons and he recovers after the fourth surgery on his battered right knee. Last operated on in March, he is going through the most hopeful stretch of rehabilitation: he is already training with more confidence, his blows are intact and, beyond that, he still feels discomfort, it feeds its own illusion.

It’s the hardest game of my life and I still don’t know how to win it, but I feel that this is my natural place and that it was usurped. I have the fire intact. I want to take control of my career again“Del Potro said on an emotional Tuesday that found him back at the US Open, the tournament that made him a myth.

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The tandilense trained this Tuesday with the legendary John McEnroe in one of the auxiliary courts, debuted as a commentator in the official broadcast and repeated, a thousand times, that his main engine is to return to the courts. He proved, for the umpteenth time, that each of his appearances it overshadows everything that happens around: the world spoke only of its moment.

The day in New York delivered reminiscences of Croatia: Del Potro shared a chat table with journalist Caro Guillén and Daniel Orsanic, the captain of that Davis team champion. “He took me out a very large backpack. That he was the captain was very important. After winning I said that I could already sleep peacefully“, threw.

There are two key factors with a view to returning in 2022: reinventing your game and the surface. “Four surgeries on one knee is not easy. Tennis is a sport that breaks you. I have already reinvented myself with the doll. I can’t limp but I’m going to try to change my game. “said the Tandilense, who will not be able to change the way he runs but will aim to play faster. Yes, even more.

“In Argentina very very little and there is a tournament at the beginning of the year. There are alternatives that touch the emotional side and I will go there,” he shot in relation to the return. The Córdoba Open, which would be played in the first week of February, emerges as a more feasible option than the Argentina Open, although this Delpo could surprise due to its recent drive to smooth things over from the past. The brick dust, of course, would cushion the impacts on his knee. The world awaits another Great Willy.

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