Former US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro will undergo a second knee surgery on Monday as he aims to cure the pain that has prevented him from competing since last June.
It is the latest in a spate of injury setbacks that have dogged the giant Argentine all through his career.
The operation will be performed by Dr. Lee Kaplan in Miami.
“We hope that this is the definitive solution to eliminate the pain that not only has prevented Delpo from playing tennis, but also making it difficult for him to perform daily activities”, read a statement released by Del Potro’s team on Sunday.
Del Potro first fractured his knee at the Shanghai Masters on October 2018, and was subsequently kept out of action for four months.
He returned to the tour at the Delray Beach Open in February last year, but re-injured his knee at Queen’s in June while playing Denis Shapovalov in his opening match. The former world No. 3 went on to beat Shapovalov, but he withdrew from his scheduled Round of 16 meeting with Feliciano Lopez after it emerged that he had fractured his knee once again.
Del Potro soon underwent a first knee surgery in Barcelona, with a return date set for later in the year. Doctors projected that he would be able to get back to playing tennis before the end of 2019, but the pain persisted, preventing the Argentine from doing basic activities like walking up the stairs. This led to further consultations, and the conclusion that a second knee surgery would be necessary.
“According to his doctor’s time frame, Delpo was aiming to return to the tournaments in Stockholm and Vienna (in October 2019), and to play the exhibition with Roger Federer in Buenos Aires”, the statement continued.
“Unfortunately, the pain never left, which forced the cancellation of these tennis commitments and spurred Delpo to seek new medical consultations. What followed next were lots of trips, different treatments, diets and training, until reaching the medical conclusion that a new surgery was required and inevitable”.
Del Potro is no stranger to overcoming career-threatening surgeries- the 31-year-old has had lengthy spells on the sidelines due to multiple wrist surgeries, but he had always come back. He’s also had to remodel his game to reduce the risk of wrist injuries and prolong his career, preferring the slice backhand to the top-spin double-handed stroke so to reduce the pressure on his left wrist. This latest injury will be particularly galling because it is affecting another part of his body, and not his usually problematic wrist.
Del Potro looked to have got over his wrist injuries, putting together two fine seasons in 2017 and 2018, when he made a second Grand Slam final- his first since 2009- and reached a career-high No. 3 in the world. Sadly, a terrific year would come to a disappointing end in Shanghai, when he took a nasty tumble and fractured his knee in a Round of 16 meeting with Borna Coric. That knee has continued to bother him till this day. He is now ranked 121st in the world.
He’s due to undergo another surgery on Monday, with the hope of making yet another comeback. No timeline has been set for his return to the sport.