Del Potro for Pun De Rock
THE ONLY MAN to have beaten Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal in the same Grand Slam has gone one up on them again.
Juan Martin del Potro is set to become just the second ever US Open men’s champ to play on Bajan soil, as he and top 20 players Gael Monfils and John Isner highlight next month’s Barbados Invitational Tennis Exhibition’s (BITE) Tennis Pon De Rock 2.
Their participation in the much anticipated exhibition’s second edition – which comes one year after the appearance of 13-time Grand Slam champ Serena Williams – was announced yesterday via a press release.
A former world No.4, del Potro first broke on to the scene two years ago by becoming the first player to win his first four career titles in as many events as a 19-year-old.
But it was at last year’s US Open that the Argentine truly established himself, beating both Nadal and Federer on the way to his only Grand Slam title.
However, del Potro has dropped to no.35 since, struggling with a persistent wrist injury that forced the six-foot-six, hard-hitting baseliner to miss most of the 2010 season.
Last year, Williams and then world No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki were the drawing cards for the inaugural exhibition, which featured a singles match between the top women’s players and a doubles event with top-ranked local player Haydn Lewis and former pro Jeff Tarango.
And Wozniacki has since risen to become the top-ranked female player on circuit, joining Williams, Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase and Althea Gibson as world no.1s to play exhibitions in Barbados.
Now, it’s del Potro who will get the chance to rejuvenate his career on these shores while appearing with the likes of Monfils and Isner.
Monfils, ranked No.14 on the ATP circuit, is a 24-year-old Frenchman whose biggest accolade to date is a semi-final appearance at the 2008 French Open, while world no.19 Isner is best known for contesting the longest ever professional tennis match.
At this year’s Wimbledon, Isner lost a first-round match to Nicholas Mahut 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7), 6-7(7–3), 68-70 in 11 hours and five minutes, contested over the course of three days.
The dates for the exhibition are December 11 and 12, while a press conference has been scheduled for tomorrow at the Sugar Hill Tennis Resort to release further details.