Juan Martin del Potro has signed to play in the ASB Classic in New Zealand, two days after completing one of the great feats of Argentina tennis.
A former champion in Auckland, del Potro was the hero as Argentina beat Croatia 3-2 in Zagreb to land the Davis Cup, winning both of his singles matches and the doubles.
The 28-year-old’s fightback from 2-0 down to beat world No.6 Marin Cilic in five sets on Sunday was the decisive match of the tie which thrust the injury-plagued Argentinian back into global headlines.
The fact he won the match, and helped clinch a first Davis Cup crown for his country, while sporting a broken finger on his non-playing hand simply capped an exceptional year, according to ASB Classic director Karl Budge.
He will come to Auckland in January as one of the world’s in-form players despite a relatively low ranking of 38th.
Out of the game for nearly two years, forced to undergo three wrist operations and contemplating retirement Del Potro’s comeback has featured an Olympic silver medal and wins over heavyweights Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal.
He won his first ATP title in nearly three years at the Stockholm Open in October.
“His year has been incredible, especially to beat two current world number ones,” Budge said.
“It’s a hell of a comeback.”
Del Potro won the Auckland crown in 2009 as the top seed and went on to win the US Open later that year, beating Nadal and Roger Federer in the last four.
Injuries have pockmarked his career since but his blistering second half of 2016 make him the clear ASB Classic favourite, Budge believes.
“The fact he is unseeded and can land anywhere on the draw will be the talking point to see who he plays on Monday or Tuesday.”