Juan Martin del Potro maybe the one to watch in 2009.


Only a select few tennis teenage phenomenons have achieved a similar result to that of Juan del Potro by winning 4 tournaments in their first full year on the tour. Those four are Rafael Nadal, Leyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Not bad company for this 6’6” Argentinian who climbed from 81 to 8 in the rankings in 2008. After suffering a back injury from playing too many matches on hard courts, his coach Franco Davin, suggested that Juan make a come back on clay where the softer surface might be easier on his back. He won both tournaments that he entered. He switched back to his favourite hard court surface and won his next two tournaments, both against top 10 players including Andy Roddick in the Los Angeles tournament. He entered the 2008 US Open in New York on a 19 match win streak, and was touted as being the hottest player on tour. Hard to argue with that fact. He met Andy Murray in the quarter final in a match that went to 5 sets and could have gone to either player. Murray eventually won and went on to beat Nadal for his first Grand Slam final where he lost to Roger Federer.
Returning home to Argentina for the Davis Cup semi final match with Russia, Juan was facing the difficult task of playing singles against both Davydenko and Andreev. He came through like a champ and became the toast of Argentina. The first match against Davydenko was settled in short order 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, now with the pressure squarely on his shoulders he went on to demolish Andreev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, to put Argentine into the Davis Cup final against Spain. In the final he suffered an injury in his match with Feliciano Lopez, losing in the fourth set and being forced to withdraw from the competition. His team mate Nalbandian, in a fit of frustration over the country’s loss, blamed del Potro for not being ready to play after his loss in the Master’s Cup in Shanghai. His next stop will be the 2009 Australian Open in Melbourne where he must be considered as a legitimate player to reach the final four.
He has already reached star status in his home country where a leading newspaper said this about him, “The name of Juan Martin del Potro is a name of importance on the circuit, a weightier name, infinitely more respected.”
Juan says of his own game, “I have to play well on all surfaces like Nadal and Djokovic if I am to realize my dream of becoming the best player in the world. He credits his coach, Franco Davin, for changing his game, for changing his mind set, and for giving him the confidence to play relaxed. All these young players, del Potro, Murray, Nadal and Djokovic are starting to make Roger Federer feel like a veteran, but do any of them have the endurance to be the next dominant men’s player?

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