Injuries, resolve and Del Potro

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I rarely blog these days. Maybe I don’t have the time, maybe it’s just low on my priority list, maybe I don’t have enough ideas for posting with frequency. But I tweet occasionally and today I got another update in my Hootsuite feed from tennis player Juan Del Potro.

For you who aren’t tennis nerds, Del Potro is a spectacular player who won the U.S Open in 2009, beating Roger Federer and preventing the Swiss maestro from taking his sixth straight US Open title.

But then the injuries came for the Argentinian grand slam champ. First one wrist, then the other, then the other wrist again. Injury, surgery, injury. He came back a few times, but not for a long enough stretch to make an impact on the tour.

He posted this today:

Inspiring stuff. But what a struggle it must be! I’ve had a knee inflammation myself for a few weeks and played tennis for the first time in a while today. Sadly, it had to be in a tournament game, the local national championships – The Malta Open. I came in with the naive hope that I would be able to run fully and compete, but during the warm-up I felt my knee tense up and then the paint came and went for the duration of the match, preventing me from even giving something like 70 percent.

I’m 33 and pretty fit, yet my body feels older. All the running, tennis and gym over the years has taken its toll on it perhaps, I don’t know. What I do know is that I need to change something. Do yoga, do different kind of stretches or exercises to loosen up and improve mobility. Otherwise I don’t think there’s much point to be on a tennis court. It’s simply not fun when you can’t give your hundred percent. That’s why I started thinking of professional athletes and the kind of work it entails to remain injury free and in physical and mental top shape, match after match, tournament after tournament. And it must be so hard not to be able to play. To work. To do what you’re best at. What you’re meant to do. That’s why I feel for Del Potro. Besides all the hassles, pain and costs of surgery, he has to feel trapped. He wants to play, wants to be where he’s his most natural self, yet, if he’s not fully fit, there’s no point. So he has to work hard, very hard, to even have a chance of stepping on the court as a professional tennis player again. His posts indicates he’s giving it all he can.

I’m impressed by the resolve it takes to be a professional athlete. You must really have a strong passion for what you do to put in all the hard work. And especially at the time of rough setbacks; like difficult losses and injuries. So I want to send my regards to Juan Martin. May you recover and bless the tennis court once more with your fierce forehand.

Will end with another Del Potro post. This time published on the excellent content site Medium.