It was an emotional night in Buenos Aires on Tuesday night, as Juan Martin del Potro played his first match in more than two and a half years—and after falling to fellow Argentine Federico Delbonis, 6-1, 6-3, Del Potro—one of the most accomplished players on the tour over the last 15 years—announced it would likely be the last match of his career.

Here are 15 of Del Potro’s most incredible achievements:

He won his first four ATP titles on a 23-match winning streak as a teenager. As a 19-year-old in the summer of 2008, Del Potro won four straight titles in a six-week period—Stuttgart and Kitzbuhel on clay, then Los Angeles and Washington D.C. on hard—and then extended his unbeaten run all the way to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open, falling to Andy Murray. He went into that stretch ranked No. 65 and came out of it at No. 13.

He won his first Grand Slam title at the 2009 US Open as a 20-year-old. Nobody under the age of 23 has won a major on the men’s side in the 48 majors since then.

He was the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at a Grand Slam. He beat Nadal in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 and then Federer in the final, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2. Djokovic is the only other player to achieve the feat, at the 2011 US Open.

At one point, he was the only man other than the Big 3 to win a Grand Slam title in seven and a half years. Between Marat Safin winning the 2005 Australian Open and Murray winning the 2012 US Open, there were 30 Grand Slams, and the Big 3 won 29 of them—Federer 13, Nadal 11 and Djokovic 5. Del Potro’s 2009 US Open title was the only other one.

He’s still the only player other than Nadal and Djokovic to beat Federer in a Grand Slam final. Federer has a 20-11 career record in Grand Slam finals, which includes six losses to Nadal, four to Djokovic and one to Del Potro.

At 6’ 6”, he was the tallest player ever to win a Grand Slam title. Marin Cilic and Daniil Medvedev have since matched the feat, at the US Open in 2014 and 2021, respectively.

Del Potro is one of three players to have beaten each of the Big 3 when they were No. 1, along with Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Only Murray and Del Potro have beaten each of them multiple times while they were No. 1.

Del Potro is one of three players to have beaten each of the Big 3 when they were No. 1, along with Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Only Murray and Del Potro have beaten each of them multiple times while they were No. 1.


He’s a two-time Olympic medalist. He won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, beating Djokovic in the bronze medal match (and he barely missed out on the gold medal match that year, falling to Federer in 4:26 in the semifinals, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17). He then won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, beating Djokovic in the first round and Nadal in the semifinals before falling to Murray in the gold medal match, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.

He led Argentina to their first Davis Cup title in 2016. His heroics included coming back from two-sets-to-one down to beat Murray in 5:07 in the semifinals, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, and then coming back from two-sets-to-love down to beat Cilic in 4:53 in the final, 6-7 (4), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3—Croatia had been up 2-1 in the tie going into that one, so just one more set for Cilic would’ve clinched the title.

He got to No. 4 in 2010, then fell to No. 485 in 2011, then got back up to No. 4 in 2014, then fell to No. 1045 in 2016, then got back up to No. 3 in 2018. In spite of four wrist surgeries, one on his right wrist (in 2010) and three on his left wrist (one in 2014 and two in 2015), Del Potro always kept battling back.

He won his first Masters 1000 title, reached his second Grand Slam final and set his career-high ranking in 2018—all after those wrist surgeries. That year he won Indian Wells in March, peaked at No. 3 on the ATP rankings in August and then reached the 2018 US Open final, finishing runner-up to Djokovic.

His nine-year gap between Grand Slam finals was record-breaking. It was an all-time record in two different ways—most Grand Slam appearances between first and second finals (21) as well as most Grand Slam tournaments held between first and second finals (35).

He’s one of only four Argentine men to reach the Top 3 on the ATP rankings. Guillermo Coria and David Nalbandian also got to No. 3, while Guillermo Vilas is the highest-ranked Argentine in ATP rankings history, reaching No. 2. Only two other South American men have reached the Top 3—Chile’s Marcelo Rios and Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten, who both got to No. 1.

He has 10 career wins over No. 1s, the most by any man who hasn’t been No. 1 himself. That includes four over Federer, three over Nadal and three over Djokovic.

He’s one of only two men to have beaten each of the Big 3 multiple times when they were No. 1. Murray has also done it.

His match against Delbonis in Buenos Aires was his first match in more than two and a half years, and after four surgeries on his right knee. The last event he played before this was Queen’s Club in June 2019—ranked No. 12 at the time, he beat Denis Shapovalov in the first round before withdrawing ahead of his second-round match against eventual champion Feliciano Lopez due to the right knee injury. He had his first surgery on it later that week, then two more in 2020 and a fourth one in 2021.