2013 finalist Juan Martin Del Potro made his long-awaited return to the BNP Paribas Open last year, but the former Slam champ comes in even more dangerous this March after a season to remember in 2016.
As Juan Martin Del Potro walked off the court following the 2013 BNP Paribas Open final, the crowd assumed that the big Argentine would become an annual title contender.
They had no reason to think otherwise. Besides, Del Potro had just bounced Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic out of the event before taking Rafael Nadal to the brink with the trophy on the line. The future was bright and an Indian Wells title looked within reach for Del Potro in the near future.
Fans seeking a glimpse of the 2013 version of Del Potro had to wait patiently, however, as a series of nagging wrist injuries kept the 2009 U.S. Open champion from the desert until 2016. The warm embrace from the Indian Wells crowd during his return last year solidified his star power and Del Potro did not disappoint, winning a round and bowing out in a hard-fought encounter with Tomas Berdych.
Del Potro was back. And it was like that booming forehand, infectious smile and his raucous cheering section had never left.
Now ranked No. 38 in the world, Del Potro returns to Indian Wells for 2017 and his goals should be lofty. The Argentine committed to resting his body for the upcoming tour season (taking the Australian swing off) and comes in following a 2016 season that included an Olympic silver medal, Davis Cup title for his home country and a title – the 19th of his career – in Stockholm.
A healthy and rested Del Potro is a bad recipe for the field, and his potential opponents are wise to seek out his name on the draw since he will most likely be unseeded.
Since 2011, only Novak Djokovic (four titles), Roger Federer (one) and Rafael Nadal (one) have hoisted the trophy at Indian Wells. Perhaps a healthy Del Potro would have added his name to that list.
He will surely get a chance in 2017, and – even better – you have a chance to see it!