After undergoing further tests Saturday on the right knee he banged during a fall on court in Shanghai Thursday, Juan Martin del Potro got some bad news.
The doctors determined that the 30-year-old Argentine fractured the patella.
“It’s a very difficult moment. I feel very sad. It’s a very tough blow that leaves me powerless emotionally. It’s very difficult for me to go back to being in rehab; I wasn’t expecting it,” del Potro said, in a statement via his PR manager Jorge Viale.
The knee is in a brace. And del Potro will follow doctors’ orders to rest, with further evaluation and decisions about a timeline for recovery to occur in the next few days.
When it happened, it seemed fairly benign – if anything involving a 6-foot-6, 215-pound behemoth falling on a rock-hard tennis court can be considered benign.
Even del Potro said it seemed like nothing, at first. But then he realized he couldn’t push off his right leg.
In the previous match that evening between Roger Federer and Roberto Bautista Agut that evening, Bautista Agut had a similar sort of fall.
At first, it looked even worse.
But the Spaniard’s weight was going backwards. And his knee managed to land sideways while his right elbow bore the brunt of the fall.
Bautista Agut shook it off, and seemed fine afterwards – other than being upset at coming as close as he ever has to beating Federer.
Such a game of inches.
Great season ends too early
Without playing doctor on the internet, and not knowing the extent of the fracture to his kneecap, this is no small thing.
It’s an injury that not only will end his season, but also may compromise his off-season and thus the beginning of 2019.
And what a shame – for anyone, but especially for a player who has spent most of the last four years rehabbing from multiple surgeries to both wrists.
Del Potro had returned to splendid form this year as he won Indian Wells and reached the French Open semifinals. He also reached the US Open final. And after the Rogers Cup, he reached his best-ever ranking at No. 3.
There was much more to come, including Basel – where he is a two-time champion – the Paris Masters indoors, and a return to the ATP Tour Finals in London for the first time in five years.