Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from the 2019 Mexican Open following an issue with his knee during the Delray Beach Open.
Argentina’s del Potro was beaten in three, gruelling sets by Mackenzie McDonald, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 and looked in discomfort throughout the match. There were signs of that same injury flaring up during his previous round match against Reilly Opelka as well but he came through in straight sets in that one.
Del Potro had suffered his knee injury during the 2018 US Open and had also missed the 2019 Australian Open as a result. He felt pain throughout the Opelka encounter and took a late decision to continue playing against McDonald.
After the loss to Mackenzie, del Potro said he was happy with the effort he put in, fighting till the very end after having been out of action for a few months.
He also admitted he had found it hard because he wasn’t 100% fit and added:
“I played three matches [this week] after four months away, though, so I think that was the best thing for me.”
In a later announcement, del Potro said he was withdrawing from the Mexican Open to rest his knees for the Indian Wells Masters.
Juan Martin Del Potro has announced he has withdrawn from Acapulco…He won the tournament last year…Said his knee needs rest for Indian Wells #ATP
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) February 23, 2019
Del Potro, now fourth on the ATP Rankings, can be expected lose that ranking to Kei Nishikori, given the Argentine has 500 points to defend from the Acapulco Open while the Japanese player has nothing. The difference between them is 405 points.
The issue for del Potro is he will start off the Indian Wells Masters as the defending champion as well, which means any early losses could further dent his points and pull him down further on the rankings chart. A good showing by Roger Federer in Dubai followed by a win at the Indian Wells Masters could change things around between the two, with the Swiss having now fallen to number seven in the world.