When Juan Martin del Potro became known as the ‘Tower of Tandil’, it referenced more than his immense frame. In 2009, the 20-year-old became a giant of tennis as he toppled Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to triumph at the US Open. Four wrist surgeries later stalled del Potro’s flourishing career before a stunning resurgence in 2016 to win a silver medal at the Rio OIympics and play a starring role as Argentina claimed its first Davis Cup.
The son of veterinarian Daniel and literature teacher Patricia, del Potro still resides in his hometown of Tandil, Argentina. Thousands gathered there to celebrate his 2009 US Open title, and the 29-year-old is equally feted throughout the world. Drawn in by his gentle and easy-going spirit, fans flock to del Potro matches, where his sporting gestures and unfiltered emotion add to the appeal. Idolizing Pete Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin as a child, del Potro says fan support boosted his comeback to the sport.
A big serve and thunderous forehand are del Potro trademarks but his true measure as a player could be his persistence through devastating injuries as he was voted by his peers as the ATP Comeback Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2016. Earlier this season del Potro returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2014 and is currently ranked a career-high No.4.
Winner: Acapulco, Indian Wells
SF: Miami, Roland Garros