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Del Potro targets Tokyo Olympics for comeback

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 3, 2019. Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in action during his fourth round match against Russia's Karen Khachanov. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine tennis player Juan Martin Del Potro has not fully recovered from a series of knee injuries but the former U.S. Open champion told reporters on Wednesday he is targeting this year’s Tokyo Olympics for a fresh comeback.

“I think this is my year,” the former world number three said at an event in Buenos Aires where he was honoured as the best Argentine player of the last decade.

“The Olympic Games are pulling me along, that is the motivation that I have.”

“The knee is giving me a lot of headaches, I can’t close out my story yet. I feel like I have more to give and so I’ll keep trying.”

Del Potro, who won a bronze medal at London 2012 and silver in Rio de Janeiro four years later, has undergone three knee operations since sustaining an injury at the Shanghai Masters in 2018, the last of which was in August 2020.

The 32-year old confessed that different treatments have not led to a complete recovery but rather “ups and downs” and he said it pains him to watch tennis on the television.

“Sometimes I am animated (for a return) and other times it’s hard to envisage but I feel there is something inside me and so I keep fighting,” he said.

“I want to end my career when it is right for me and not because of my health.”

Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo in Buenos Aires, writing by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Toby Davis