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Argentina Open: Tearful Juan Martin del Potro loses in comeback

On a memorable night in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, Juan Martin del Potro made his ATP Tour return in Argentina Open. Playing for the first time since March 2019, the Argentine delighted his home fans with a homecoming many feared might never happen.

Competing against his countryman Federico Delbonis, del Potro broke serve in the opening game of the match but ultimately dropped a 6-1, 6-3 contest in one hour, 23 minutes.

Del Potro was overcome with emotion prior to stepping to the line to serve at 3-5 in the second. As his eyes flooded with tears, the crowd filled in the pause by serenading their hero. After match point, the competitors shared a long embrace and del Potro laid his bandana on the middle of the net.

The 33-year-old Argentine was playing in his first competitive action since 2019, following four right knee surgeries.

Last week, the former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro hinted strongly during a tearful press conference that his appearances in Bueno Aires and Rio de Janeiro may mark his final ATP Tour tournaments.

Del Potro’s decorated career is highlighted by a US Open triumph in 2009 and 22 tour-level titles, most recently at the 2018 Indian Wells. Known as the ‘Tower of Tandil,’ after his hometown, del Potro reached a career-high ATP Ranking of World No. 3 in 2018. He’s also a two-time Olympic medalist, winning singles bronze in 2012 (London) and silver in 2016 (Rio de Janeiro).

The Argentine turned professional in 2005 and played his first ATP Tour events in 2006. He won his first ATP Tour title in Stuttgart in 2008, the first of four that season.

Injuries plagued the 6-foot-6 del Potro throughout his career. He missed extended time in 2010 and 2014-16 with a wrist injury, and more recently has struggled with knee problems that have kept him sidelined since mid-2019.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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