RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 8, (APP/AFP) – Juan Martin del Potro hailed his stunning Olympic Games triumph over world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday as one of his greatest victories.
Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion who was pushed to the brink of retirement after undergoing a series of wrist operations, downed the top seed 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2).
The giant Argentine had also defeated the 12-time major winner in the bronze medal match at the London Olympics in 2012.
Both players embraced at the net and wept at the end of their centre court duel, played out in front of a raucous Argentine and Serb crowd.
“It was an amazing match for me. I didn’t expect to win tonight as I know the situation with my wrist,” said the 27-year-old del Potro who hit more than 40 winners, virtually all off his forehand.
“My forehand was great and I hit it as hard as I could.”
Del Potro, now ranked at 145 in the world after being number four in 2010, said Sunday’s win was more special than his victory at the 2012 Games.
He had his first operation in 2010 but more followed in 2014 and 2015 when he played just six events.
“This victory is bigger than last time because I know how tough it was to come back from three surgeries,” he said.