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By Richard Lucas

©AP

Del-Potro-SydneyWho would have guessed that a mere 14 months after dethroning five-time US Open king
Roger Federer in an epic five-setter that lasted over 4 hours, the 6'6 giant from Argentina would be needing a wild card just to get into a lower tier event? After reaching a career high of number 4 in the world, Juan Martin Del Potro's ranking has now dropped all the way to 258. This is largely due to the ranking system, which essentially holds points for one year. This meant that after the 2010 US Open, Del Potro lost all of the ATP points he had earned from 2009, a very large 2000 points, immediately dropping his ranking from 35 to 259.

There was some initial speculation and questioning as to why a man who had become one of only two people since 2005 not named Roger Federer or
Rafael Nadal to win a major, would even considering changing something as important as his racquet. As is typical in the retail racquet market, technologies come around and racquets are changed by implementing the newest advancements in their normal cycle.  This usually means that players will switch to a racquet that will look like the latest model, whether or not they actually make the change is something few people know with certainty.  Del Potro, however, replaced a rather classic style racquet for a much different frame and immediately following word of his injury, the racquet change was questioned.  While many other players have found great success with the BLX Pro Tour that was originally designed with Del Potro in mind, it appears that the original front man for the frame has chosen something new.

While we may never know how much, if any, impact the racquet had on the wrist injury that eventually required surgery and the long layoff to heal, we have seen that Del Potro has reportedly switched back to his trusted previous model that he won the US Open with.  He had reached his lowest just before the surgery as different doctors were reporting very different time lines for recovery and if recovery was even possible.  Following the mental strain, it makes sense that Del Potro would return to what he felt most comfortable with, the K-Factor Six-One 95. Del Potro is actually playing with the 18x20 string pattern version which shares the same specs as the more open 16x18 version.

After an injury plagued 2010 that saw Del Potro battling with depression and the fear that his career could be over at the young age of 21, he kicks off the new year and season in Sydney against Spaniard
Feliciano Lopez with a very different mindset and list of goals. While he entered 2010 with the goal of reaching number 1 in the world by March, he comes into 2011 seeking simply "to play well again.  That's all." Del Potro remains optimistic stating that, "Of course my goal in the next couple of years is to win another grand slam, but it is a long, long way to get them." Most importantly, he enters the court with a new love of tennis and realistic goals that he will put in 100 percent effort. After an injury and what the man known as DelPo has been through, that is all anyone can ask.

 

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