Wednesday, 4 June 2014 | MYT 6:38 PM
Former US Open champ Del Potro to grace Malaysia
Juan Martin Del Potro will make his maiden appearance in the Malaysian Open. - filepic
PETALING JAYA: World No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro could make Kuala Lumpur his first stop since returning to the competitive action after confirming his debut in the Malaysian Open tennis championships at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 20-28.
Joining the 2009 US Open champion in the US$1.02mil (RM3.3mil) ATP 250 indoor event will be two other world top 10 players – world No. 9 Milos Raonic of Canada and world No. 9 Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Del Potro, who last competed on the ATP World Tour at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in late February, underwent surgery on March 24 for a recurring left wrist injury.
It was initially thought that the 25-year-old Argentinian could be out for the rest of this season.
However, he was able to return to the court at the end of last month and managed to complete a 20-minute light training session with his coach Franco Davin.
Del Potro has yet to set an exact date for his return but, with the sixth edition of Malaysian Open still 3½ months away, there is ample for time for him to get back into shape as he seeks to make up for lost time.
He kicked off the year rather convincingly by claiming his 18th career title at the Sydney International before suffering a recurrence of the injury which had been troubling him since 2012.
Nishikori, who became the second Asian man after Thailand’s Paradorn Srichapan to break into the world’s top 10, has set his sights on winning in Kuala Lumpur after coming close twice.
The 24-year-old reached the last four in 2011 and 2012 – both times losing to the eventual champion.
Nishikori has enjoyed an outstanding season so far, having captured two titles in Barcelona and Memphis as well as making the final at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid before losing to world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
Raonic, who is known for his hard-hitting and big-serving game, has also made the top 10 for the very first time this year.
Raonic has enjoyed a fine run in the first-half of the season by reaching the quarter-finals or better at four ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in 2014, as well as the ongoing French Open.
The Canadian will be making his second appearance here, having made his first trip here in 2010.
The 23-year-old was then ranked at a lowly 237th but he still powered through the qualifying rounds and won his first career ATP World Tour match to reach the quarter-finals.
“There are a lot of good memories for me there and to be coming back is very exciting and I hope to make a lot more of those memories,” said Raonic.