US Open: Comeback kings Djokovic and del Potro vie for title | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.09.2018
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US Open: Comeback kings Djokovic and del Potro vie for title

Both Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro have battled serious injury to get back to the top. The two friends are both previous US Open champions but sympathy will be put aside in Sunday's final.

There have been times in the last few years where Juan Martin del Potro wondered whether he'd ever play tennis again, let alone have the chance to win a second Grand Slam at the same place he won his first nine years ago.

"I couldn't find a way to fix my wrist problems. I [was] suffering a lot," the Argentinian said of his low point in 2015. "I got depressed for a couple of months, also. I didn't get the chance to feel better with myself, to do this again. That was the bad moment for me.

"But I think that is completely in the past. And now I'm having a good present looking forward for the future. Everything is almost perfect."

The 1.98-meter (6-foot-6) player had to remodel his backhand almost entirely after his injury woes and has been rewarded with a Flushing Meadows final against a man with whom he shares a mutual admiration, Novak Djokovic.

"I personally like him very much, not just as a player but as a person. He's a dear friend, someone that I respect a lot," said Djokovic of his opponent.

"We all felt for his struggles with injuries that kept him away from the tour for two, three years," Djokovic said. "But he was always a top-five player in my eyes."

Relatable recovery

The Serb, who is on the brink of a fourteenth Grand Slam final but has won just two of his seven finals in New York, has also had significant injury problems of late. 

He dealt with pain in his right elbow for nearly two years before opting to sit out the last half of 2017, missing the U.S. Open among other events and, after a brief attempt to play at the start of this season, had an operation in February. Now he is one win from a second consecutive Grand Slam title after his triumph at Wimbledon in July.

"It absolutely gives me empathy. Even before I went through the whole process of surgery, post-surgery recovery, I was still feeling for players that went through injuries," Djokovic said.

His big match pedigree means Djokovic is favorite to pick up another major win but there are few that would begrudge del Potro another moment in the sun 

"I didn't know if I will be a tennis player again or not. But I'm here," he said. "I'm excited to keep surprising the tennis world as I did myself."

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