Juan Martin del Potro slogged past Croatia’s Marin Cilic in five sets on Sunday to help Argentina take the Davis Cup. Somehow, he beat the world No. 6 despite breaking a left pinky while trying to catch one of Cilic’s serves in the deciding set. He wasn’t the only one to suffer from an errant Cilic serve during the match:
Though the international team tournament doesn’t count towards del Potro’s ATP points—leaving him 38th in year end rankings—the victory supplied plenty of patriotic cheer to a player who’d lost in the tournament’s final in 2008. It’s also a potential springboard for del Potro to return to Cilic’s level on a more permanent basis. Pinky finger notwithstanding, I would guess that ascent will not take long.
Before the latter half of this year, the conversation around del Potro had taken on a posthumous tone, and not unreasonably—the guy underwent three wrist surgeries, played only 14 matches in 2014 and 2015 combined, and sunk as low as 1041 in the rankings. But now he is physically intact, back to winning titles, and only 28 years old in the era of the elite 30-something. It’s clear that there’s plenty more tennis left to play.