2012 French Open Previews: Juan Martin del Potro
The Argentine is in a curious position. After he won the 2009 U.S. Open with a dazzling final-round victory over world No. 1 Roger Federer, he missed almost all of the following year because of wrist surgery. His comeback began in earnest last year, and he seemed to be right on track—his ranking steadily improved into the low twenties in time for the summer hard-court segment, where he has traditionally done extremely well. But del Potro wasn’t able to duplicate his former hard-court feats, and his progress for the year was halted at No. 11.
Since then, he’s climbed two rungs, but something seems missing from his game. He’s lost to Roger Federer four times this year, and has won just two titles—both at relatively minor events, Estoril and Marseille.
The big (6’6”) man can play on clay, though. He lost to Djokovic in the third round of Roland Garros last year and he made the semis there in 2009—where he lost to Federer in five sets.
Reason to Hope: The Tower of Tandil is just too good a player to remain suppressed by the top stars, and he can hit big and flat enough to neutralize even Rafael Nadal’s defensive skills.
Reason to Worry: Because of his ranking, Del Potro would probably have to beat at least two of the top three players, and that task is still a little bit beyond him as he seeks to regain traction.
The Last Word: Del Potro failed to build on his win at Estoril at the bigger Masters events; he still needs to build confidence but has very little time do so.