Juan Martin del Potro has travelled to Brazil from his home in Argentina for last-gasp stem cell therapy which he hopes might allow him back on court again.
The 2009 US Open winner, aged 32 and ranked 157, last competed in June, 2019, when a slip on court on the Queens club grass sent him back into recovery mode.
Delpo has done it tough for a decade with multiple wrist surgeries and three knee operations. His last was in Bern, in the summer, with three months of rehab failing to show improvement.
Now, the South American is giving it another go, undergoing a procedure on Porto Alegre involving cells from his own body.
Brazilian outlet GZH dropped the news that the player is being treated with BMAC (Stem Cell Concentrate and Bone Marrow Growth Factors).
He is due to return to the neighboring country within weeks for a second round of treatment.
Physiotherapist of the Brazilian athletics team, Luiz Fernando García, will direct the rehab effort for the former ATP No. 3.
“We will perform some tests and see how you react to the treatment, but the goal is to start with muscle-strengthening exercises and seek to increase the range of motion of the joint, ” the medico said.
Del Potro is loathe to give up his tennis despite his career-full of injuries:
“I’ve been fighting for a long time,” he told ESPN Argentina. “Sometimes I’m fine and at other times I’m bad. But it’s hard for me to come back.
“It’s a reality and I can’t cover it up. I stay on my feet because I really want to return to tennis.
“That is why I am excited and I see many doctors. As long as I have the feeling inside me that my stage is not closed, I am going to fight it, whatever the time.”