Juan Martin del Potro - Novak Djokovic backing

Juan Martin del Potro: ‘I broke my knees and here I am, with nothing’

Juan Martin del Potro says he feels like he has been left ‘with nothing’ after having his tennis career ripped from him.

Del Potro was at a high point in his career when he broke his kneecap at Queen’s in 2019.

He initially worked his way back only to suffer the same injury again and, except a farewell appearance in Buenos Aires this year when he symbolically left his headband draped over the net, he has never played since.

While it was not the first injury struggle of Del Potro’s career, it has certainly been the most painful one, and he has opened up regarding just how tough he has found it.

“I recently went to Switzerland to see another doctor,” Juan Martin del Potro told the media in Argentina. “I started another treatment, it was recommended by many tennis players and so far I have not even had a positive result.

“Imagine what it’s like after every treatment attempt or surgery, the frustration I can feel when things don’t work out. As usual I delude myself, I hope, I have faith in every new treatment I try and, when this fails, the blow is hard.

“And for three and a half years, despite several surgeries and treatments, it always happened. Today I can only walk, I do not run on the treadmill, I cannot climb the stairs without pain. I can’t drive for a long time without stopping to stretch my legs.

“This is my reality, which is hard, it is sad, but I always try to improve my situation and my new challenge is also to live in the best possible way, even psychologically, despite my problem.

Central to Del Potro’s mental struggles at his situation appears to be how suddenly it was upon him. Despite fighting injuries all his career, it was mainly wrist problems, so the nature of the knee injury that befell him was a shock to him.

“I can’t psychologically accept a life without tennis,” he said. “I did not have a gradual transition to the after, I did not prepare, I have no idea what the other athletes did to live this process peacefully.

“I was number three in the world, then suddenly I broke my knees and here I am, with nothing.

“And all this time I was trying to recover, as I have with any other injury, until in Buenos Aires I said: ‘That’s enough’. And from Buenos Aires I found myself, and I am still there, in that process of reflection, I wonder what things I might like, I don’t know.

“When I talk to other athletes who are no longer active, they say to me, ‘Well, it took me the last two years of my career, the last year, I prepared myself this way or that way. I’m doing it now.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.