Del Potro passes early test unscathed

 

On the corresponding Monday 12 months ago Juan Martin del Potro was celebrating his rise to No 4 in the world rankings, having just overtaken Andy Murray. Yesterday the Argentine went on court in the Sydney International as the world No 259 in search of his first victory for nearly a year.

The win was duly delivered, Del Potro beating Feliciano Lopez 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, but of greater relief to the 2009 US Open champion was the fact that his right wrist had stood up to the challenge of playing a match that lasted three hours and 20 minutes. An injury to the wrist has troubled Del Potro since the autumn of 2009 and kept him off court for most of last year.

After reaching the fourth round of last year's Australian Open, when the injury was causing him increasing trouble, Del Potro did not appear again until Bangkok and Tokyo in the autumn. He lost at the first hurdle on both occasions and admits now that he tried to come back too early.

Now, having worked hard on his fitness, Del Potro feels ready to begin his climb back up the world rankings, although he admitted he had a long way to go before he approaches the form he had found before his injury.

"I worked very hard for two months in Argentina," Del Potro said. "My coaches trust in my conditions and I trust in myself, so I'm ready again to play long matches. I am still lower with my level. I need time. I need work to keep going on this road. It's a long road to be in the top 10 again, but I'm ready to try. I need matches and matches, practice and work. Maybe in four or six months I'll be ready to play good tennis again."

Del Potro, who is keen to have more time on court in preparation for next week's Australian Open, now plays Germany's Florian Mayer, a 7-5, 6-0 winner over Britain's James Ward, who received a wild card. Marcos Baghdatis, the defending champion and No 2 seed, has pulled out of the tournament with a groin strain.

Elena Baltacha, whose return to the court was delayed by flu, beat Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 6-3 in her first match of the year at the Hobart International. The British No 1 was due to play Italy's Roberta Vinci in the second round today.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week