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Juan Martin Del Potro:
The Backhand is Back

Matthew Cronin

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Juan Martin's two hander is finally back.

It looks like the Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro has an opportunity to win a major again -- and that could be because of his weakest shot. The way he played his way back into contention at the highest levels of the tour may have improved his overall game.

Back in 2009, at just 20 years old, he won the US Open. He crushed an injured Rafa Nadal in the semis, and in the final, he out hit Roger Federer in five sets. Then, it looked like soon enough, he would become No. 1.

That of course didn't happen because of the injuries that started in 2010. First it was his right wrist. He had to stop for months to get surgery. Then he came back, and this time it was his left wrist. He had to have surgery on it as well--three times. A few doctors said that he might not play tennis again.

But Del Potro pressed on. In 2016, he came back onto the ATP Tour – or most of him did. His old backhand still wasn't there. During his early 20s, he could hit his two-handed backhand with spin and speed, no problem.

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In 1980 John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg played two of the greatest matches of all time in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open finals, both won by McEnroe, catalyzing Borg's disappearance from the game. In Epic, Matt Cronin, one the world's most respected tennis writers, and a regular Tennisplayer.net contributor, tells the stories of the two legendary careers that lead up those confrontations - as well as recounting the matches themselves. We're excerpting the start of both stories on Tennisplayer - the young Borg and the young McEnroe. Get Matt's book and read the rest!

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Matthew Cronin, founder of TennisReporters.net, is one of the most prolific and insightful journalists working in the sport of tennis. Matt has covered men's and women's pro tennis for the past fifteen years, traveling the world to develop his unique first hand perspective on every aspect of the game. Matt is a regular contributor to Reuters, has written extensively for the official Grand Slam web sites, and did play-by-play on the first web radio broadcast of the US Open finals. A former co-president of the International Tennis Writers Association, Cronin resides in Moraga, Calif., USA, with his wife, Patti, and their children, Cassandra, Connor and Chiara.