There are many ways to describe Juan Martin del Potro: owner of the most devastating forehand in the sport, winner of a Grand Slam at age 20 after beating near-peak Roger Federer, and the dude with the largest heart on tour. But you could hardly describe him as healthy. Years of wrist issues sent him nose-diving down the rankings, settling below No. 1000 in the world, but he returned from all his surgeries last year to beat Novak Djokovic at the Olympics, slug his way to the U.S. Open quarterfinals, and win Argentina a Davis Cup.
Then del Potro started hurting again. He skipped the Australian Open, lost in the third round of the French Open to Andy Murray—his low ranking of No. 30 means he’s still getting fed brutal draws—and today, citing a groin injury, he pulled out of Queen’s Club, a tune-up tournament for Wimbledon, raising doubts as to whether he’ll be healthy enough for the major on grass. It’s a fucking bummer.
Thanks to del Potro’s wrists, he’s already been robbed of a proper two-handed backhand, and a career that might have challenged the stranglehold that Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Djokovic had on the game. Now, at 28, it seems like his body won’t even allow him to play out the last few years of his career in peace, leaving us to ponder one of the biggest what-ifs the modern game has seen.