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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Juan Martin del Potro proud to have overcome 'bad moments' of injury as he shocks Roger Federer to win Indian Wells title

The Argentine had considered quitting sport over his spate of injuries, but he has now won back-to-back ATP titles.

Juan Martin del Potro won the Indian Wells title. Mark J Terrill / AP Photo
Juan Martin del Potro won the Indian Wells title. Mark J Terrill / AP Photo

Juan Martin Del Potro, once one of tennis' hottest young talents before his career was derailed by injuries, won the Indian Wells Masters on Sunday two years after almost quitting in frustration.

"I couldn't imagine this moment. I mean, everybody knows I was really close to quitting tennis before my third surgery on my left wrist," said Del Potro after upsetting world No. 1 Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 in Sunday's championship match.

"I made a big effort to come back. I have everything what I want, and I want to keep improving my game to see what can I do.

"I had very bad moments a few years ago and I don't want to think about that anymore. I am just enjoying my life and playing around the world. I am exited to see what is next."

Del Potro is back in the top ten rankings this season for the first time since 2014 and he will move up to No 6 in the ATP standings today after his success. He dropped to No. 1,045 before beginning his comeback from the left wrist surgeries in 2016.

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Juan Martin del Potro can be regarded as an elite star again alongside Federer and the rest of the 'Big Five'

For formidable Roger Federer eventual return to No 1 merely icing on cake

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The 29-year-old from Argentina says he is not thinking about his ranking and just wants to keep up the pace as long as he can.

"Well, it's so big. I cannot believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and level of tennis," he said of his first win in an Indian Wells final and second straight ATP title in a row.

"I don't care about the numbers. I just want to keep winning titles like this if I can.

"But the first thing is try to be healthy during the whole year and play where I like to play. Now I have to do a smart schedule on clay to feel 100 percent for the rest of the season."

Del Potro will now head to south Florida with the other ATP players to compete in the Miami Masters.

Del Potro also won the title earlier this month in Acapulco, where he beat three top eight players in a row to clinch his 21st singles crown.

Asked on Sunday if beating the world No 1 in Indian Wells and winning consecutive finals is a sign that he is back, Del Potro said, "I don't know. Maybe I'm in better shape, because few years ago I never win a title like this.

"I'm surprising myself. I don't like to compare this time with few years ago, but I'm just enjoying what I have to do every day.

"And it's like a surprising life to me, and I'm so happy for that."

Roger Federer reacts to losing a point during his defeat to Juan Martin del Potro. Mike Nelson / EPA
Roger Federer reacts to losing a point during his defeat to Juan Martin del Potro. Mike Nelson / EPA

"It should sting," Federer said of his first loss of 2018. "The question is how long? It is disappointing talking about a great match like this and losing.

"You move on. There's no time to dwell over it. I see the positives at the end of the day."

Federer survived a match point in the second set tiebreaker to force the third set .

"It was a lot of chances at either end," he said. "He should have maybe closed it first in the second set I believe. Even early in the second set I think he had break point chances.

"But I was able to find my game and get out of that game."

In the 10th game of the third set Federer returned the favour with three match points of his own but Del Potro timed his forehand shots perfectly.

"It was disappointing," Federer said. "Juan Martin was a bit better at the end. It was maybe a point here or there, maybe a shot, maybe a forehand, maybe a chip."

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