December 8, 2021

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Vid: Last-minute decision for Juan Martin del Potro

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How much do we all miss del Potro? Let's be real – a lot.

PARIS – Even though he’s an Argentine, a land where clay is king, it’s no secret the clay-court season is the toughest part of the year for Juan Martin del Potro.

The 29-year-old suffered a Grade 1 tear in his left adductor 10 days ago during his match against David Goffin in Rome.

And he’s unsure if he’ll have recovered enough to go best-of-five sets, on clay, at the French Open next week.

He told the media at Roland Garros Saturday that he’s taking it day by day.

It’s the last clay-court tournament – and it’s a Grand Slam – so he’s going to do his best.

Del Potro plays wild card Nicolas Mahut of France, possibly as late as Tuesday. 

Lucky top half of the draw

The bottom half of the men’s draw plays Sunday and Monday; the top half (which includes del Potro) plays Monday and Tuesday. No doubt he’d have made a request to try to get an extra day of recovery in and get a Tuesday start. And, as the No. 5 seed, they’d certainly at least listen.

Del Potro said sometimes it feels better; other times, not so much. 

He said the doctors he visited in Barcelona a few days ago said it would take about eight days. 

“I am improving, I am doing everything possible, if the recovery continues as it has so far, it is positive,” he said.

“I’m making this effort because it’s Roland Garros. That’s why I stayed in Europe. …  I have experience in this kind of thing. It is hour-by-hour.”

Big March for del Potro

Del Potro had a crazy-successful run through the hard-court swing in March with a title in Acapulco, another title at Indian Wells, and a semifinal loss to eventual champion John Isner in Miami. He posted a 15-1 record, and gave himself some recovery time after that.

The Argentine didn’t start the clay-court swing until Madrid, where he lost a third-set tiebreak to Dusan Lajovic in his second match.

In Rome, he defeated young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in his first match, then retired at 2-6, 5-4 in the match against Goffin as he felt the adductor.

Practice with Nishikori

Meanwhile, the Wrist Brothers practiced Thursday on Court 3 at Roland Garros.

Both del Potro and Kei Nishikori have been through the grinder with wrist problems. Nishikori missed nearly six months at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, although he didn’t have surgery.

Del Potro’s multiple surgeries – on both wrists – are well documented.

It was hard to tell what kind of shape del Potro was in, as he didn’t move all that much.

Nishikori stayed behind for extra homework.

On Saturday, del Potro practiced with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.