Tennis fan favourite Juan Martin del Potro has made the brutal admission that he has suffered with coming to grips with his retirement earlier in the year, which was due to a brutal knee injury.
While the tennis world has lauded Roger Federer for calling time on his illustrious career, Argentinian great del Potro has revealed some of the difficulties he has faced since retiring.
Del Potro followed in the footsteps of Ash Barty in making 2022 a difficult year for tennis diehards as they watched fan favourites call time on their careers.
The US Open winner battled severe injuries towards the latter half of his career and wasn’t able to compete for sustained periods to regather his best form.
Del Potro, a former World No.3, had undergone four surgeries on his knee while slipping to 757 in the world rankings, before retiring.
The 33-year-old, who beat Federer in the 2009 US Open final, said his knee troubles had him “living a nightmare”.
And once again the loveable star has detailed just how difficult it has been for him post-surgeries.
“I recently went to Switzerland to see another doctor,” del Potro told reporters 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.”
In a heartbreaking admission, del Potro claimed he found it hard to come to grips with his sudden exit from tennis and his previous life due to his injuries.
“I can’t psychologically accept a life without tennis,” he said.
“I was number three in the world, then suddenly I broke my knees, and here I am, with nothing,” he added.
The former World No.3 said he has spoken to other athletes and said he is now coming to grips with retirement after some time away from the game.
Juan Martine del Potro’s final match
Del Potro played his final game in his home country, which played out in hard-to-watch scenes.
The crowd got behind their hero as chants of ‘Del Potro’ echoed around the arena during the match against countryman Federico Delbonis.
And in heartbreaking scenes, Del Potro broke down in tears before what appears to be the final service game of his career.
Del Potro won the last of his 22 tour titles at the Indian Wells Masters in 2018.
He took silver and bronze at the Olympics and helped his country win the Davis Cup in 2016.