`Recovering` del Porto doubtful over Australian Open participation

Johannesburg [South Africa]: Argentina tennis star Juan Martin del Potro has insisted that he is unlikely to be fit for Australian Open scheduled for next month.

Addressing a news conference, del Potro also cast doubt on whether he would play in the Davis Cup first round tie at home to Italy in February when Argentina begin the defence of their title.

“What I need is to have someone get me physically fit enough to last the whole year,” he was quoted as saying by Sport24. “There’s a fortnight to the Australia Open and I’m unlikely to make that objective.”

“We’re looking at what the priority is. If tennis waited for me for two years, Australia can wait for me for one more,” he added.

The Argentine will be playing two exhibition matches against David Ferrer in Buenos Aires and at the seaside resort of Mar del Plata on December 27 and 28.

The former US Open champion, who played only six tournaments in 2014 and 2015 because of a wrist injury, was named the ATP’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2016 post his remarkable comeback after lifting his ranking from 1045 in February to 38.

Del Potro reached the finals of the men’s singles event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which he lost to British ace Andy Murray 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.

The Argentine also said he was unsure if he would feature in Argentina’s defense of their title against Italy in Buenos Aires from February 3-5.

“There’s still some time to the first tie against Italy but not so much and it’s going to be on clay and that’s a surface I struggle on,” he said. (ANI)