FILE PHOTO: Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2019. Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in action during his fourth round match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

March 24, 2021

(Reuters) – Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro will undergo more knee surgery this week and hopes to recover in time for the Tokyo Olympics, the former U.S. Open champion said on Monday.

The former world number three, who has not fully recovered from a series of knee injuries, said on his Instagram page that he was in Chicago and would undergo knee surgery on Tuesday.

“We’ve tried conservative therapy but the pain is still there,” said Del Potro. “(The doctor) knows I want to play tennis again and be able to play the Olympics, so we agreed that surgery should be done as soon as possible.”

The men’s singles tennis event at the Tokyo Olympics begins on July 24.

Del Potro, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and silver in Rio de Janeiro four years later, has had three knee operations since breaking his patella at the Shanghai Masters in 2018, with the last surgery happening in August 2020.

The 32-year-old Del Potro, who has previously said he wants to end his career on his terms and not because of his health, last competed in mid-2019.

Del Potro also said things had been hard since his father died in January and that he felt a push to get back on the court.

“I feel the strength he sends me from above. I had this day in which I woke up and called the doctor. I knew I had to try again,” said Del Potro. “I hope I can overcome this painful situation. I won’t stop trying.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon)

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