After falling to qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarterfinals of Sydney, Juan Martin del Potro will head to Melbourne for the Australian Open. The former U.S. Open champion, who just returned after a 10-month layoff due to surgery on his left wrist, says that he knows others will be following his performance, but he will be unseeded and wants to temper expectations.
"I will be waiting [for] a tough draw in Melbourne for sure," he said. "But I have to think about my opponent and my first match on tour again playing a Grand Slam. Many people will be watching me and expecting to win some matches. It's not easy, but everybody has to know I'm 338th player in the world at the moment. I just beat the Top 20 player here [Fabio Fognini], Top 50, it's great for these kind of players, so I'm happy for that."
"But I want to meet also Federer, Djokovic, these guys, because I miss them when I was at home," he said. "I only speak with WhatsApp or by phone. Now I will meet the biggest players of this sport again.”
For now he wants to hang out outside the court with them, rather than on the court. "Off the court for sure, not on court yet," he said. "I need couple of months. I want to have the chance to play them, but in good shape, you know. Not like today because they will be favorite for sure. But when I will be fit I want to play against them again."