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.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor