Juan Martin del Potro ATP

‘A giant man with a giant heart’ – Former ATP world number four reflects on heartwarming US Open moment with Juan Martin del Potro

Former ATP world number four James Blake has relayed the story of how Juan Martin del Potro consoled him immediately after his final pro match at the 2013 US Open. 

As former world number three del Potro makes his ATP tour return in Buenos Aries and after revealing that he could very well retire after the event, outpourings of support have come from fellow players, former competitors and fans alike.

Former world number one Andy Murray empathised with del Potro’s injury struggles in particular, saying: “I hope he’s doing okay. I feel for him. I know it’s an incredibly difficult situation.

Now Blake, who faced del Potro four times in a head-to-head they split 2-2, has recounted a lovely story about the Argentinian ‘gentle giant’.

“The time del Potro waited for an hour in the US Open locker room for the last match of my career to finish so he could give me a hug,” Blake responded to an ATP tour tweet calling for fans’ favourite del Potro moment.

“A giant man with a giant heart. Much love and best wishes for the next chapter, my friend.”

That final match of Blake’s career came in 2013 against then world number 79 Ivo Karlovic, suffering a tough defeat from two sets to love up against the Croat, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (2-7).

Of course, probably del Potro’s most famous career moment came at the 2009 US Open, when he defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals before overcoming five-time defending champion Roger Federer in the final for an incredible Slam triumph.

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