Juan Martin Del Potro said on Tuesday he hopes to return to competitive action in 2022 after being sidelined for over two years with numerous knee injuries.
The 2009 U.S. Open champion has undergone three knee operations, the most recent of which was in March, since sustaining an injury at the Shanghai Masters in 2018.
Argentine Del Potro, 32, said he was optimistic about a comeback despite the multiple setbacks.
“I love the challenge. It could be a tennis challenge or a different challenge in life, and this is the toughest match of my career because I cannot deal with this kind of injury, this kind of pain that I’ve had, but I’m still trying,” he told ESPN.
“I believe in myself that this is going to be in the past, for sure. I think it’s also a message to young kids, all players, and people around the world that they never have to give up in following a dream, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Del Potro hit some balls with former world number one John McEnroe on the practice courts at Flushing Meadows, where he finished runner-up in 2018.
“I had a great opportunity to play with John. One of the reasons that I came here was him,” he said.
“I’m so happy to be back in my place, in my tournament. I’m excited to feel better and be back as a protagonist next year and be on court.”