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Del Potro: I still dream of being world No.1

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Originally published on: 29/06/12 00:00

Juan Martin del Potro has made a remarkable comeback following his year’s absence with a wrist injury but the Argentinian recognises that the hardest part of rescaling his former heights has yet to come. Although he is back in the world’s top 10, the former US Open champion acknowledges that returning to the top five is an even bigger challenge.

“I still dream of being world No.1 one day,” Del Potro said. “I’m getting closer, but I don’t know if I can do it, or whether I can be closer than I was in 2009 and 2010.”

Del Potro is through to the third round at Wimbledon, in which he faces Kei Nishikori. Since starting his comeback at the beginning of last year he has reached the quarter-finals at both the Australian Open and the French Open. Now he needs only one more victory to equal his best performance at Wimbledon, having reached the fourth round last year before losing to Rafael Nadal.

The former world No.4 admitted that he had been surprised by the success he enjoyed so soon after starting his comeback last year.  “At first when I was injured I thought I would never play tennis again,” he said. “Then I remember I played Sydney and lost to [Florian] Mayer in the second round and I thought to myself that I was very far away from getting back to my best level.

“But I was still improving. I kept winning and I said I will be in the top 100 very soon, maybe the top 50, but I was watching the top 20 players and they were playing at a really high level, much better than me, and I didn’t know if I could get to that level. But my coach, my friends and my family gave me confidence to work hard.”

He added: “I was seeded at the French Open [last year]. It was really, really quick and it was amazing, more than I had expected after what had happened in the previous year. But then the next step was difficult – from top 20 to top 15, from 15 to top 10 – because those players are playing really well. And at this time I feel I still have a bit of a gap between me and them.”

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