London: Juan Martin del Potro admitted he felt alive again after the injury-plagued former US Open champion sent Swiss fourth seed Stan Wawrinka crashing out of Wimbledon yesterday.
Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka reacts after losing a point to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro during their Wimbledon match in London yesterday. Pic/AFP
On a day when rain caused a four-hour delay on the outside courts, forcing organisers to consider playing on the middle Sunday for the first time since 2004, the giant Del Potro shone beneath the Centre Court roof.
His 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 second round victory over Wawrinka brought back memories of his stunning US Open win in 2009 before a series of wrist injuries pushed him to the brink of retirement.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro celebrates his second-round victory over Swiss’ Stan Wawrinka on Day Five of Wimbledon yesterday. Del Potro won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3. Pic/Getty Images
The world number 165 from Argentina, who was a semi-finalist in 2013 in what was his last appearance at Wimbledon, next faces either French 32nd seed Lucas Pouille or Donald Young of the United States.
Del Potro is playing in his first major since the Australian Open in 2014 after undergoing three wrist surgeries. “It feels amazing, it’s a great sensation,” said the 27-year-old. “I enjoyed the crowd. It’s an incredible feeling, that’s why my hands are still shaking.
“I feel alive again. After sitting at home for two years, this feels like a second or third career,” added the former world number four. Wawrinka, a quarter-finalist in 2014 and 2015, fired 47 winners past Del Potro but was undone by 48 unforced errors.