Juan Martin Del Potro is one of the few players everyone in the game of tennis fears. Possessing a mammoth forehand and serve, the Argentine is one of the few players (not named Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray) to have won a major in the last ten years. Injuries have plagued his career and halted one of the most promising talents that the game has ever seen. Opting to skip the Australian hardcourt season in order to rest, the Argentine came to Delray Beach in order to find his game. In the first round, he played another former top 10 player coming back from injury, Kevin Anderson.

The Del Potro forehand was on fire

The forehand is the most important shot in the Del Potro game. It is the shot that won him the US Open in 2009 and led to a silver medal last year in Rio. In perfect nighttime conditions, Del Potro was able to move his South African opponent around the net with considerable ease by running around his backhand and whacking inside out forehands. At one point he hit a forehand that was clocked at 99 miles per hour. Though not a rarity when plays, it is still shocking to see a ball come off of someone’s racket with that type of velocity. Del Potro was also able to maintain a low number of unforced errors and considering that this was his first match of the season a (6-4, 6-4) victory is just what the doctor ordered.

Del Potro is a confidence player

Like many players on the ATP World tour, Del Potro is someone that needs a lot of matches to feel comfortable and in control. A tournament like Delray Beach is a great way for him to begin his 2017 campaign because the field is tough but the very top players rarely play this event. This tournament is also played on relatively fast hardcourts which means that the ball really travels through the court.

Not as fast as the courts used at the Australian Open, these courts allow for someone that hits a flatter ball to really gain the advantage in the rallies. As I watched the match, the one thing that I noticed was that Del Potro was hitting over his backhand as much as I have seen in a long time. That is a good sing because it means that he believes that his left wrist will hold up.

He managed to hit some pretty good backhands down the line which will only help in the future when he plays top players. For the first performance of the season, Del Potro should be more than thrilled with his effort.