The Argentine, who last played at the tournament in 2014, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round in what was his final match before his injury layoff, has withdrawn from the ASB Classic in Auckland and revealed that he may not be fit enough for the first major of the year.
After virtually two years off the tour, del Potro went on to finish the year in the top 40, beating the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, as well as winning an Olympic Medal and helping Argentina to the Davis Cup title.
Del Potro highlights need for more practice
Though he was in fine form towards the end of last season, del Potro stressed that he was still not in perfect shape and needed time to get back to his best. It is his desire to return to his best form that has seen him withdraw from the ASB Classic, held in the opening week of the year, could see him skip the Australian Open in January.
“If I played these two tournaments, I would lose time to practice,” the Argentine commented, “I would prefer to stop now and not skip other tournaments at other times.”
Del Potro also commented on his previous absence, saying, “Tennis waited for me for two years and Australian Open can wait [for] me for another year. But I know also that it's a very important tournament and that if it goes well you can jump in the rankings and be okay for the rest of the season.”
May also skip Davis Cup
The 2009 US Open champion also revealed that he may skip Argentina’s opening tie in their defense of the Davis Cup title, to be held on clay in Buenos Aires against Italy.
Del Potro highlighted that clay is not his strongest surface, saying it might not be beneficial for him to play on the surface, whilst pointing out that he is “calm” about missing the tie considering Argentina’s triumph last year.