Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro is set to enter the French Open draw for the second time in the last five years. Although he has enjoyed some success on clay in the past, Delpo has made it clear that his goal at the moment is to maintain his body and stay healthy for the second part of the season. Last week in Rome he even joked about not liking the extra effort required to perform on clay.
“I don’t like to run too much, and you must play long rallies here on clay”, he laughed in an interview.
Tandil Tower does not have a solid foundation on clay
Out of his 22 career titles only four have come on clay, the last one dating back to the 2012 Estoril Open, a modest ATP 250. This year he hasn’t been able to confirm his superb form from the earlier part of the season (Acapulco and Indian Wells titles) and he has taken a step back as far as results go. He even had to retire in his round of sixteen match in Rome against David Goffin due to a groin injury.
Now the question for Del Potro is if he will be able to recover in time for the start of the second Slam of the year. His recovery is up in the air because of the limited amount of time between Rome and Paris. Ten days are probably not enough to get back to 100 percent. Considering that the French Open is probably the toughest test tennis has to offer in terms of the physical demands, it would be risky to bet on a deep run by Delpo.
It is a shame to see the Tower of Tandil compromised before such an important tournament. He is always a force to be reckoned with and could potentially be a serious threat to almost any player in the early rounds of the French. Not to mention that besides Rafa Nadal nobody has really established themselves as slam dunks when it comes to clay tournaments. Dominic Thiem has his moments and Alexander Zverev is a rising star, but both of them are yet to enjoy success in the Grand Slams on the tour.
Expect the worst, hope for the best.
Realistically, fans shouldn’t expect much from a hampered Del Potro. With an injured groin it is almost impossible to get through healthy players on clay. You just can’t rely on short points and big serves for an entire match. You have to run your butt off at some point, and besides not liking it, Del Potro might not even be able to.
Furthermore, don’t rule out the possibility that Del Potro will ultimately decide to withdraw from the tournament. The latest reports are not very optimistic and his status for the start of the tournament is considered to be doubtful, while he continues to struggle with his groin strain.
It is ironic that right after he joked about not liking clay because of the extra running, he was served with an injury that specifically hinders that part of the game. The tennis gods definitely don’t lack a sense of humour on this one.
- Tom brings THE SLICE from Guadalajara, Mexico.