The return of Juan Martin del Potro this year has been one of sport’s biggest feel-good stories, and the Argentine has already shown the quality to suggest he is seriously worth supporting at next month’s US Open.
Del Potro famously won the Flushing Meadows event back in 2009, becoming only the second title winner in 19 slams who wasn’t Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. (The other guy was a fellow named Novak Djokovic, by the way).
Federer and Nadal may each have seen the peak of their careers come and go, but in their place is that man Novak and of course, Andy Murray.
The Argentine has worked incredibly hard to beat a potentially career-ending succession of wrist injuries, and he heads to the scene of his only Slam victory in excellent form.
The first glimpse the wider-world got of Del Potro’s return was in round two at Wimbledon, where his 6ft 6in frame reminded us all of that wonderfully devastating forehand to knock out two-time Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.
But it was in Rio where the 27-year-old showed he is already capable of a deep run at one of tennis’ big four events.
Del Potro swept aside world number one Djokovic in the opening round, and despite the odd wobble along the way, then went and beat Nadal in the semi-finals.
Andy Murray was pushed hard in a thrilling four-setter in the Gold medal match, but despite settling for silver, it was excellent preparation for Del Potro ahead of the trip to Queens.
The Argentine could also be heading to New York fresher than many of his opponents, having only featured in nine tournaments this season.
Murray, in contrast, has entered an extra four events, and flew straight out to Ohio following his Rio success for the Cincinnati Masters.
It’s been a long seven years for Del Potro since that five-set epic with Federer, but the popular Argentine has treated his return with care, and could well be set to peak at just the right time for a symbolic return to glory at Flushing Meadows.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.