May 19, 2013
Del Potro in stunning Melbourne debut
Sixth seed Juan Martín del Potro, took 76 minutes to oust Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-2 and 6-2 in a game for the first round of the Australian Open.
It was Del Potro’s official presentation of the year after having announced he won’t be playing any Davis cup match this year.
Del Potro, the only player outside the "big four" of men's tennis to have won a grand slam in the last eight years, lost a year of his career to a wrist injury after winning the US Open in 2009 and since his return, has failed to rediscover the heights of form he reached at Flushing Meadows three-and-a-half years ago.
Now “Tandil’s Tower”, who has reached the tournament’s quarterfinals twice (2009 and 2012), will face German Benjamin Becker, who defeated Slovak Aljaz Bedene 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 and 7-6 in his Melbourne debut.
After the match, Del Potro told reporters to be confident about his game.
"I played really well," he said. "I remember last year when we played the first round also, and he had a better match than today.
“I played really aggressive. I was able to put up many winners with my forehand, and served well throughout the entire game. I made very good start to this Open.”
With seven aces and not even one against, the Argentine even put a 208 kph serve to leave Mannarino petrified on the serve line.
“I know how difficult it is to win a Grand Slam, but I’m here trying to do so. The past 33 majors were all won by the same players. The favourites are always the same even if Rafa is not here. If Rafa was here, he would be a favourite for sure also. But Roger, Novak, Andy Murray, and other guys are the favourites to win the tournament."
“Anyway, I think I know how to win it. Plus, clinching a Grand Slam is my personal goal for this year.”