After being off the court for two and a half years, Juan Martín del Potro is preparing to make his return to professional tennis.
The Argentine will miss the Australian Open in 2022, but in February he would be active to play the ATP tournament in Buenos Aires on brick dust, so it is time to analyze the impact that his return represents for Latin American tennis.
If we review the ATP ranking at the close of the 2021 season, South American tennis barely has 3 players in the top 50: Diego Schwartzman (13), Christian Garín (17) and Federico Delbonis (44). And the most alarming thing is that very few names of young figures in the region have a real chance of breaking into the top 25 in the coming years.
Despite the fact that del Potro is 33 years old, if he can stay healthy, he should have enough level to achieve good results in major tournaments. However, I honestly don’t see him winning another grand slam or a Masters 1000 tournament.
The last two titles of the Tandil idol came in 2018 with Indian Wells and Acapulco. Both events on a hard court, which reminds us that we are talking about an Argentine player who strangely performs better on a fast court, mainly due to how hard he hits the ball.
The United States is not far from the reality of Latin America in terms of tennis, since it currently does not have representatives in the top 20 of the ATP and only has 6 representatives in the top 50. Definitely the times of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick, they fell far behind.
Returning to the Spanish-speaking region, the reality is that the critical situations in the countries are greatly affecting the adequate development of young talents, who have to “survive” in order to remain active on the ITF professional tour.
We are talking about an extremely expensive sport, so naturally the nations with bad economic situations have very little chance of being able to harvest tennis players that can be placed in the first 100 positions of the world ranking.
The aforementioned serves to put us in context to the importance of the return of Juan Martín del Potro, who represents a light of hope for Argentine and Latin American tennis in the midst of a time with few players in the elite of “white sport”.
Finally, it is important to reiterate that Juan Martín del Potro will surely not have the physique to endure 6 or 7 games in a large tournament, but his mere presence will be a breath of oxygen for America in the face of the impressive dominance that Europe has implanted, a continent that currently occupies 100% of the top 10 of the ATP.
If things go well in February in Buenos Aires, we will surely see del Potro at the main events for the rest of the season, including playing for Argentina in the Davis Cup. !! Congratulations!!