Photo Lookback: Juan Martin Del Potro
With this week's Open Era focusing on Juan Martin Del Potro's incredible 2016 Olympic run, we're taking a trip through the Argentinian's archives, and bringing you the photos that best tell the story of his career.
Del Potro's talents have been evident from an early age. After learning to play tennis at the age of 7, he was signed by a talent scout at the age of 12, before becoming a professional and winning his first match at the age 15.
Del Potro continued to progress in his career, letting his hair flow down to his shoulders while he continued to rise up the ATP rankings. By the end of the 2007 season he had reach the Top 50, and at 19 years of age, he was the youngest member of the group.
The 2009 US Open was the site of Del Potro's first major sucess, with the Argentine winning his first Grand Slam a week before his 21st birthday. He made history in the process, becoming the only player to defeat both Nadal and Federer in the same Grand Slam tournament, as well as the tallest ever Grand Slam champion.
2010 marked the first of many injuries for Del Potro, as his career came to be defined by surgeries and setbacks. Between 2010-2016, Del Potro's career was a yo-yo string of debilitating injuries and inspiring comebacks, alternating between falling out of the ATP Top 250 and rising as high as an Olympic Bronze in 2012 and a Wimbledon semi-final in 2013. A second major wrist injury suffered in 2014 would cause him to take a two-year break from the sport, before returning triumphantly in 2016.
2016 was a banner year for Del Potro. After leading Argentina to their first ever Davis Cup victory, he undertook one of the most remarkable Olympic runs in recent history, and you can relive it in all it's glory with Simon Bushell and Devang Desai here.
Throughout his career, his humility and perseverance have made him a hero to many tennis fans. And of course, the best way to immortalize any hero is to turn them into a muppet. At 31, his career continues to be hampered by injuries, but even if we never see him return to such great heights, we can take solace in the fact that we have his muppet to keep us company.