Del Potro ready to challenge tennis' Big 4 in 2013


Del Potro ready to challenge tennis' Big 4 in 2013

LONDON (AP) Juan Martin del Potro is hoping to turn tennis' Big Four into a quintet in 2013.

The big-hitting Argentine's season ended Sunday when he wasted a one-set lead against Novak Djokovic to lose 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals of the ATP finals. But his strong end to the year has made Del Potro confident he can once again challenge the sport's biggest names for Grand Slam titles next season - like when he won the 2009 U.S. Open before a serious wrist injury caused a lengthy layoff.

Since then, Djokovic and Andy Murray have joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in dominating the sport - and those four have shared every Grand Slam title since Del Potro's victory at Flushing Meadows.

Judging by his recent form, the Argentine may be ready to break into that group again.

``I'm getting closer every day,'' Del Potro said. ``Maybe that could be my big challenge for next year, my big goal, trying to fight (for all the Grand Slams) with this group. You know, they are winning all the Grand Slams - Novak, Federer, Rafa and now Murray. I would like to be part of those names in the Grand Slams.''

Many thought he would permanently be part of that group after beating Federer in the U.S. Open three years ago. But he missed most of the next season because of wrist surgery, and has struggled to re-establish himself at the top since. He wasted a two-set lead against Federer in the French Open quarterfinals this year, and then lost to the Swiss star again in an epic Olympic semifinal that ended 19-17 in the third set.

But he rebounded to beat Djokovic in the bronze-medal match and then defeated Federer in the final of his hometown tournament in Basel last month. He beat Federer again here in London on Saturday to clinch a spot in the semifinals, becoming the first player in 10 years to defeat the Swiss great in back-to-back indoor events.

And his booming forehand had Djokovic in trouble, too, before the top-ranked Serb found his stride in the second set. Djokovic, for one, has no doubts that Del Potro will be back to fight for more major titles.

``He's definitely one of those players behind the big four that can challenge for winning a Grand Slam,'' Djokovic said. ``Next to him it's obviously (David) Ferrer that had a fantastic year, the best year of his career. So there are players, and he's probably one of them.''

While Del Potro couldn't end the year with another title, his latest results bode well for next year.

``These kinds of matches give me illusions (dreams) for the next season,'' Del Potro said. ``I beat Roger yesterday. I was close to beat Nole (Djokovic) today. ... I think I'm playing good. I don't know if I play better or not than 2009. But being (in) the semifinals in this tournament is so big for me. It's still Federer, Djokovic, Murray and me. Was the same four players (in) the Olympics and in the U.S. Open.''

Nadal missed those events, and the ATP finals, with a knee injury but is hoping to be fully recovered by the start of next year. Del Potro is also looking forward to some rest after another grueling season.

He said he wasn't planning on even watching Monday's final in London, or any other tennis over the next few weeks for that matter.

``I will be watching soccer,'' he said.

Quick Links

2019 NBA Draft: Hawks trade up to No. 4, reportedly plan to pick Virginia's De'Andre Hunter

2019 NBA Draft: Hawks trade up to No. 4, reportedly plan to pick Virginia's De'Andre Hunter

The first big move of NBA Draft night - according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski - was to help Atlanta land Virginia's De'Andre Hunter.

Per Wojnarowski Atlanta has acquired the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans, which they got from the Lakers in the mega-deal for Anthony Davis, for the picks No. 8, 17, and 35. With that fourth overall selection, the Hawks plan to take Hunter. 

Hunter, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a member of UVA's national championship team this past season, was profiled in NBC Sports Washington's I Am The Prospect series.

In his interview with NBC Sports Washington, Hunter described what he expects draft night to be like for him and his family. 

"Draft night's gonna be really emotional. I don't know if I'm gonna cry or not, but I know a few members of my family will be crying, so that'll probably get to me a little bit," Hunter said. "It's gonna be a great moment for not only me but for my family as well."

In another pre-draft trade, the Suns have acquired the No. 11 pick and forward Dario Saric from the Timberwolves for the No. 6 pick, per Wojnarowski


Quick Links

2019 NBA Draft: All the best and wildest draft suits from the red carpet in New York


2019 NBA Draft: All the best and wildest draft suits from the red carpet in New York

It's NBA Draft night! That means prospects are about to begin the most exciting time of their professional lives. It also means they're going to show up in wild, sometimes fly, sometimes ill-advised outfits on the red carpet. 

Here's a quick roundup of what everybody's rocking this year. 

Bol Bol, Oregon

Is this one of the boldest draft looks ever? Hard to top rhinestone spider webs. 

RJ Barrett, Duke

Bright pink suit, custom Canadian flag lining and spiked loafers. A whole lot of look for Barrett. 

Zion Williamson, Duke

Williamson went with a cream tuxedo without a tie. 

Cam Reddish, Duke

Reddish opted for a gold-on-black print jacket and black shirt and pants, finished off with a simple gold chain and Versace loafers. 

Ja Morant, Murray State

Not only is Morant rocking a blue-purple pinstripe suit, but also he's wearing a pocket square of his own face! This is not a drill. 

Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Hachimura payed homage to his roots with his draft-night 'fit. In a burgundy and blue suit and shirt, he showed off fabrics from Japan and Benin in the lining of his jacket. 

This post will continue updating throughout the night