Former world No4 Juan Martin del Potro has suffered yet another setback in his road to recovery from injury as the Argentine announced on Monday that he will be undergoing a third surgery on his troublesome left wrist.
In an emotional and heartfelt 15-minute video message, Del Potro revealed he will have surgery on Thursday in the United States to try and fix the damaged tendon in his wrist.
Del Potro first sustained the injury in 2012 and kept playing for a year and a half, using injections to control the problem, but his wrist stopped responding to the treatment at the Australian Open last year and his last match of the 2014 season came in Dubai in February soon after.
The 26-year-old then had surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and returned to the circuit nine months later – at the Sydney tournament in January.
Despite making it to the quarter-finals in Sydney with wins over Sergiy Stakhovsky and Fabio Fognini, Del Potro withdrew from the Australian Open and underwent a minor surgery which was meant to have a short recovery period.
He came back in Miami at the end of March but lost in the opening round to Vasek Pospisil and has not been seen on a tennis court since.
“Since my last tournament in Miami until today I’ve spent some tough weeks and months, sad days, dark days with not much light at the end of the tunnel because of my serious wrist injury” Del Potro said in the video message.
“But I never gave up. If there's one thing I want to do, it's to fight for what I love and that is to play tennis.
“But since Miami, when I left the court, my sensations weren’t good. I felt bad throughout the whole tournament. The whole situation made me realise it wasn’t wise to go on in that condition. That I didn’t deserve to step onto a tennis court with pain in the wrist again.”
Del Potro explained that despite having injury troubles in the past – he missed most of 2010 with a right wrist problem after winning the 2009 US Open – this is the first time he has stepped away completely from tennis, without practicing or working out.
“I told myself I didn’t want to fight against tennis, I didn’t want to hate this sport,” said the Olympic bronze medallist.
“I’d rather take the time off that’s needed to recover myself as a human being, and leave the tennis player aside for a moment... “I just find myself fighting mentally and psychologically, not giving up and trying to find solutions for my wrist problem.
“As I still dream about stepping onto a tennis court one day, I’m not choosing conservative treatments to cure the pain, which at first was diagnosed as tendinitis but it’s more serious than that because the tendon is damaged. Several doctors, including the one that has treated my wrist all this time, recommend another surgery.
“I’ve decided to commit myself again and undergo surgery hoping it will be the final solution.”
“Next Thursday I'll undergo surgery in the United States so if you want to support me or pray for me, you are welcomed.”
**I interviewed Del Potro in Dubai before he played his very last match of 2014. He had so much hope in recovery then. I really hope he keeps up that spirit.