Juan Martin Del Potro
- Full name Juan Martin Del Potro
- Nickname Delpo
- Birth date September 23, 1988
- Birth place Tandil
- Current age 26 years 0 days
- Height 6 ft 6 in
- Style Combines aggressive baseline play with a powerful serve
While Juan Martin Del Potro rapidly becomes one of the most popular figures on the ATP Tour, he continues to make enemies of the history book writers, who constantly find themselves scrapping old records to make room for the Argentinean sensation. Winner of the 2009 US Open title, 21-year-old Del Potro possesses an absolute sledgehammer of a forehand, which gathers speeds of over 100mph as he increasingly overwhelms his opponents in order to scale the world rankings.
As the first man to have beaten both Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in the same Grand Slam tournament, Del Potro holds the second longest winning streak by a teenager in the open era - winning 23 matches - and is the only man to have won his first four ATP Tour titles back-to-back.
Born in Tandil, Argentina (hence the nickname "Delpo", the tower of Tandil), Del Potro's success was by no means instant, struggling in three ITF Circuit events before recording his first senior triumph as a 15-year-old against Matias Niemiz. Further frustration followed as a 17-year-old when Del Potro's first attempt to qualify for the US Open was dashed by Ramon Delgado, but the up-and-coming teenager had nevertheless served notice of his emergence, becoming the youngest player to finish a year in the world top 200.
That path to stardom soon saw Del Potro make his first two Grand Slam appearances in 2006 at the French Open and US Open, rocketing him into the world top 100 where he was once again younger than his other 99 peers at the age of 18.
The following 12 months became the true breakthrough period for the tall right-hander, who began to add big-name casualties to his growing CV, beating the likes of Jonas Bjorkman and Marco Baghdatis to earn Davis Cup recognition with Argentina.
He was also the man everybody wanted to play, largely because every time he exited a Grand Slam his conqueror went on to reach the final. At the Australian it was Fernando Gonzalez, at the French it was eventual winner Rafa Nadal, at Wimbledon it was champion-in-waiting Roger Federer, and at the US it was Novak Djokovic.
Del Potro's memories of 2007 will always be rose-tinted though after he claimed his first doubles title alongside Travis Parrott, proclaiming in the aftermath: "For the rest of my life, I will remember this tournament."
Maybe Del Potro did not know what was to come in 2008 when, like a slow-burning firework, he gradually heated to a crackling crescendo. Injuries curtailed his early involvement, dashing his hopes at the Australian Open and the Rome Masters, where he was forced to concede a bad-tempered match with Andy Murray. Second-round defeats at Roland Garros and Wimbledon followed, prompting the most important decision of Del Potro's career.
In with the old and out with the new, "Delpo" turned to new coach Franco Davin, sparking a run of four consecutive title victories. Richard Gasquet was defeated for the Mercedes Cup, Jurgen Melzer succumbed at the Austrian Open, Andy Roddick was smashed aside in Los Angeles, before victory over Viktor Troicki completed the quartet in Washington. Speaking of Davin's impact, Del Potro explained: "He changed my game. He changed my mind. He changed everything. When I play and I see him in the stands, it gives me confidence. I can play relaxed."
The year was closed out by a quarter final appearance at the US Open and a Davis Cup final defeat to Spain, sending Del Potro into the world top 10 for the first time.
The Argentinean sensation had now reached the stage of his career where only Grand Slams would define his progress. Victory at the Heineken Open went almost unnoticed, before a shattering 3-6, 0-6, 0-6 defeat to Roger Federer at the Australian Open showed the gigantic chasm Del Potro had to close to the world's best player.
The pair would meet again, this time in the US Open final, which would prove to be the pivotal moment of Del Potro's career. Federer appeared to have his number once again, taking a 2-1 lead and going a break up in the fourth set, but Del Potro's caution-to-the-wind approach roared to a famous triumph, making him the first Argentinean male since Guillermo Vilas to win the US Open. Having defeated Nadal in the semis, he had also gone where no man had before by conquering the dominant duo in the same Grand Slam.
Del Potro's 2009 finished with a maiden appearance in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals, but only after he enjoyed a brief knock-up with football star Carlos Tevez as he waited for organisers to confirm his qualification from the group stages. Defeat (to Nikolay Davydenko, not Tevez) would follow, but Del Potro's status as one of the top five players in the world had been rubber-stamped.
Career high Producing one of the greatest comebacks of all time to overcome Roger Federer in five sets at the US Open, a victory that Del Potro describes as "a dream".
Career low Sparking a media storm at the Rome Masters by allegedly using derogatory comments about Andy Murray's mother. Injury and retirement following in the same match, ushering in a forgettable period in Del Potro's career.
Quotes "I had two dreams this week. One was to win the US Open and the other was to be like Roger. One is done, but I need to improve a lot to be like you." Del Potro addresses Federer after the US Open final.
"Del Potro hits this way and that way kind of equally and he can hit it from inside out and running to it, which is a good thing for him, bad for the rest of us." Andy Roddick
Trivia Del Potro answers to three nicknames - Enano (which means "midget"), Palito ("stick") and Delpo (Tandil's Tower)
- Del Potro forced to dig deep (Aug 28, 2013)
- Del Potro edges Isner in DC (Aug 5, 2013)
- Djokovic defeats Del Potro in decider (Jul 5, 2013)
- Djokovic safely through against Mayer (Jun 25, 2013)
Murray edges past Becker at Queen's (Jun 14, 2013)