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Del Potro pulls out of Acapulco after Delray Beach defeat: 'I don't want to be home watching the tournaments on TV'

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 23 Feb 2019
  • Juan Martin del Potro's first tournament back after fractured kneecap ends in quarterfinal defeat to Mackenzie Macdonald
  • After Delray Beach Open defeat, del Potro pulled out of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco 
  • 'I don't want to be home watching the tournaments on TV'
Juan Martín del Potro (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from the Abierto Mexicano Telcel after his comeback from injury ended in defeat at the Delray Beach Open.

Del Potro was playing his first tournament of 2019 at the Delray Beach Open this week but was defeated in three sets by Mackenzie Mcdonald in the quarterfinals, losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5).

The world no. 4 then withdrew from next week's Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, for which he had been granted a wildcard and where he would have been attempting to defend his title.

Del Potro suffered a fractured kneecap when he fell on court at the Shanghai Masters last October while playing Borna Coric, which brought an abrupt and premature end to a stellar season for the Argentine which had included a maiden Masters 1000 Series title and his first Grand Slam final appearance since the 2009 US Open.

It was the latest in a long series of injury problems for del Potro, who was once tipped to win multiple majors and has been one of the most formidable forces in the game when fit, but has suffered two lengthy absences from the sport due to wrist tendonitis which required multiple surgeries: First in his right wrist, which saw him play just six matches in 2010, and then in his left wrist, which kept him off court for virtually two years as he played just 14 matches in 2014-15.

The 6'6" del Potro battled his way back up the rankings into the top five after each setback, but the 30-year-old Argentine was frank about how this latest injury blow has told on him as he spoke after the defeat to Macdonald.

'The doctors say I need time if I want to be 100 per cent, but I don’t want to be home watching the tournaments on TV. I’ve done that before and it was really bad for me,' del Potro said

'I wanted to do a big effort tonight. I fought until the last ball and had many opportunities, but it’s hard to win matches when you can’t move at 100 per cent.'

Del Potro's knee was heavily strapped during the match.

After winning his first two matches of 2019 in straight sets against Yoshihito Nishioka and New York Open champion Reilly Opelka, del Potro's movement looked compromised from midway through the first set onwards but he battled gamely against Mcdonald, the 23-year-old world no. 84 who has reached the first ATP Tour semifinal of his career in Delray Beach. With del Potro encouraged by his fans, the world no. 4 fought back to take the second set and pushed the decider all the way to a tie-break, but fell behind after making consecutive forehand errors and Mcdonald celebrated the first win of his career over a top-10 opponent.

'I have a lot of respect for my fans who paid for a ticket and came to watch me play. I know they understand if I can’t play, but I wanted to try and think I did a good effort,' del Potro said. 'I wanted to play because this is the reason I came to Delray Beach. The final score doesn’t matter to me.'

Del Potro has another major incentive to keep trying to play - he is defending 1,500 points in the next three weeks, having won the 500-level Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco last year and followed it with victory at the Indian Wells Masters, where he beat Roger Federer (snapping the Swiss great's 17-match winning streak) to claim the first Masters 1000 Series title of his career. He took a wildcard into Acapulco, but has since announced his withdrawal after his Delray Beach campaign proved he's far from fit to play.

'I played three matches after four months away and that’s the best thing for me,' del Potro said. 

'I know how good I can be when I’m ready, but I’m not in the physical condition to play at this level yet.'

Del Potro's next scheduled event is the Indian Wells Masters, which begins on 7 March.

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Del Potro pulls out of Acapulco after Delray Beach defeat: 'I don't want to be home watching the tournaments on TV'

Juan Martin del Potro's first tournament after suffering a fractured kneecap in October ended in a three-set defeat to Mackenzie Mcdonald in Delray Beach before the world no. 4 pulled out of Acapulco, admitting: 'I'm not in the physical condition to play at this level yet'

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