World No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro believes his time has come to take his place amongst the “Big Four” in men’s tennis. This elite group, which consists of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer has dominated Grand Slam competitions for the better part of the last decade and have won 38 Grand Slam titles between them since the 2004 Australian Open.
One of the three Grand Slam titles to go beyond the reach of the “Big Four” was Del Potro’s inspirational title win at the US Open in 2009, where he defeated current world no. 1 Rafael Nadal in the semi-final and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the finals to lift his maiden Grand Slam title. It is precisely because of that remarkable moment that will fuel the Argentine to compete further against the elite, until he is considered one of them.
“They are so good during every tournament and they are regular in the important tournaments. They reach semi-finals and finals in every Grand Slam,” Del Potro said. “I was close to reaching the final in Wimbledon but it wasn’t enough to win there. I have to be ready for the moment, like I was in 2009 when I beat Rafa [Nadal] and Federer in semis and finals. I was ready for the moment and I think I’ve been training hard trying to find that moment.Article Continues Below Ad
I think I’m ready to keep fighting with them in the grand slam but they are still so good and the biggest favorites,” he added.
Having ended the 2013 season ranked 5th in the world, which was his highest ranking since 2009, the Argentine believes he now has the opportunity to further that ranking and break into the elite. In order to do so successfully, his main goal is to stay healthy throughout the season.
“I’m in the top five after three years and a half, and I see a good opportunity to keep improving my ranking, but I also feel a little difference between the top guys and the rest and me. I’m looking forward to playing most tournaments healthy. That could be my biggest goal for this year,”
Del Potro is competing at the Apia International in Sydney, where he is scheduled to meet Nicolas Mahut in the second round.