2016 Wimbledon player profile: Juan Martin del Potro

It’s hard to believe that this will be Juan Martin del Potro’s first Grand Slam match since a second round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut at the 2014, though, after struggling with wrist injuries for the past two years, the former world number four is finally ready to return to the biggest stage of all at Wimbledon this year.

The Argentine, who skipped the French Open to prepare for the grass court season, returned to action earlier this season and is using his protected ranking to enter the tournament.

Notable results to date

The most notable moment of 2016 for del Potro was his return at Delray Beach, where he beat Denis Kudla in the first round and eventually made the semifinals, losing to Sam Querrey.

After this encouraging display, his results since then have generally been solid for someone who has been out as long as he had been; coming into the grass season, he did not lose his first round match at any tournament, with highlights including a quarterfinal run at the BMW Open and a first round win over the high-flying Dominic Thiem at the Mutua Madrid Open; arguably his best win since his return

Del Potro in action during his Mutua Madrid Open first round win over Dominic Thiem (Getty/Guillermo Martinez)
Del Potro in action during his Mutua Madrid Open first round win over Dominic Thiem (Getty/Guillermo Martinez)

Best grass results leading to Wimbledon

The Argentine started his grass season at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Del Potro started with strong wins over Grigor Dimitrov and John Millman, and then battled past 4th seed Gilles Simon in a three-set victory; another strong win for him. He lost in the semifinal to Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets, though this was a highly successful week for del Potro.

Del Potro serves during his semifinal defeat at the Mercedes Cup against Philipp Kohlschreiber (Getty/Bongarts/Daniel Kapotch)
Del Potro serves during his semifinal defeat at the Mercedes Cup against Philipp Kohlschreiber (Getty/Bongarts/Daniel Kopatsch)

Del Potro then moved on to the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club, in London. He had a difficult draw against John Isner and, despite a decent performance, fell in straight sets to the big-serving American.

His grass preparation may not have ended the way he would have wanted it, though the performances have generally been encouraging in the build up to SW19

Best Wimbledon result

His best, and most famous, Wimbledon result came in 2013, where he played some of the best tennis of his life as he came just a set away from the final.

Seeded 8th for the tournament, del Potro did not drop a set as he reached the last four the first time, with his best win coming over 4th seed David Ferrer in the quarterfinals.

Following that match, he met top seed Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. In scorching heat, the two battled out in the longest Wimbledon semifinal in history. Down two sets to one, del Potro saved two match points to take the 4th set 8-6 in a tiebreak, though narrowly fell short as Djokovic took the decider 6-3.

Del Potro and Djokovic meet at the net after their gruelling semifinal at Wimbledon in 2013 (Getty/Mike Hewitt)
Del Potro and Djokovic meet at the net after their gruelling semifinal at Wimbledon in 2013 (Getty/Mike Hewitt)

He may not have won that match, but in that match, he proved he could challenge the best on grass when playing well, and with his encouraging form this season, no one will want to be drawn against him

How del Potro’s game translates to the surface

Grass generally favors the most powerful players, and that certainly helps the big-hitting Argentine.

Del Potro has a big serve when firing and, considering the bounce on grass, this could be a potent weapon for him, which other players must be weary of. Furthermore, his groundstrokes are big, with one of the biggest forehands in the game and a consistent two-handed backhand, and these weapons will also thrive on the grass if he is playing well.

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