A sense of the inevitable surrounded the news that US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro finally underwent wrist surgery yesterday (Tuesday) and will require such extended recovery and rehabilitation from the operation that he might be unable to defend his title in New York.

Concerns about the well being of the health of the 21 year-old Argentine, currently world no.5 who stunned the tennis world by denying Roger Federer a record sixth successive US Open title last September, have been mounting with each tournament he initially named as a potential place for a comeback to the ATP World Tour and then reluctantly announced his non participation.

“All year long, I wanted to avoid surgery by using different treatments, but the injury was obviously more serious,” said Del Potro in a statement given to Argentine journalist Juan Pablo Varsky.

Playing the French Open and Wimbledon is already ruled as out of the question for Del Potro who underwent the surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota . He has been suffering from tendinitis in his right wrist since last October when he was forced to quit a match at the Shanghai Rolex Masters and apart from contesting the BNP Paribas Masters at Paris’ Bercy when he was forced to retire hurt from the quarter-finals, reaching the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London and the getting to the fourth round of the Australian Open, he has been inactive ever since.

Del Potro has undergone many examinations and consulted numerous doctors and surgeons over the past few months but earlier this week traveled to the Mayo Clinic to meet the eminent hand specialist Dr. Richard Berger and it was immediately decided that after concerted rest and extensive rest had both failed, surgery was the only real remaining option.

“As you can all understand, this is not a happy moment in my life,” said Del Potro whose ranking could potentially slide out of the world’s top 20 if he fails to defend the points he amassed throughout 2009. “But I’m accustomed to fight through adversity and I have all the strength to get through this and move forward.”

Argentine news agency Telam reported Del Potro would not be able to play tournaments for at least four months, thereby posting a huge question mark over his ability to be fully ready to stage a Flushing Meadows title defense at the year’s final Grand Slam event that begins on August 30.

Some sections of Argentina’s media have speculated that Del Potro’s long absence from competition has resulted in him suffering from depression and anxiety attacks. He countered saying such reports were false and malicious. “Stories have circulated about my state of mind and my physical condition but that’s not true,” he stressed.

“I’m not going to say more about what doesn’t exist. But bad information not only affects my family, my team and the people who take care of me. It also affects those of you who end up reading news that is not true.”



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