Roland Garros: DelPo Withdraws Due to Complications from Virus

DelPo announced his withdrawal from 2013 Roland Garros.  The virus that had led him to withdraw from the Portugal Open and Madrid Masters has also forced his withdrawal from Roland Garros, the second Slam of the year.  DelPo made his comments to the press about his withdrawal (source):

I’m sad to miss such an important tournament.  This is a tough blow b/c RG is one of the tournaments you always dream of winning.

Now I have to overcome this, recover fully and prepare to return to my 100% level in the next tournaments.

Although DelPo reportedly returned to training on Tuesday, his team judged his preparation insufficient for Roland Garros.  Given how DelPo’s been afflicted by this virus for nearly a month, it’s understandable why his team would be cautious as to the timing of his return.  DelPo seemed to have rushed his return to Rome earlier this month.

Reliable media sources cite DelPo’s inability to sufficiently train for Roland Garros (due to the long-term effects of the virus) as his reason for withdrawal from Roland Garros.  Given how he’s returned to training this week, the hope is that he can recuperate his form in time for the grass season.  No other additional news has been reported so far on the original virus that has been troubling DelPo.  At this point, it’s still unknown whether the virus is simply a harsh strain of a particular virus or whether it’s actually a case of mono.

Speaking of mono, it’s important to know that players like Robin Soderling and Heather Watson, both of whom suffered from mono, have said that the worst thing to do is to rush a return to tour.  Mono, like many other viruses, requires good old-fashioned rest and recuperation in order to fully recover.  Whatever illness DelPo is suffering from right now, the priority is that he has enough time to recover for the long-term.  Soderling has said before that he regretted his decision to play Wimbledon in 2011, as he’d been suffering from mono for a long time at that point (although he hadn’t yet known it was mono).

Given that information, it can be seen as a relief that DelPo decided beforehand not to rush his return to the tour.  While the fact that he will skip a Grand Slam this year is certainly disconcerting, it seems like the correct level-headed decision for his long-term health.

No. 2-ranked Murray has already announced his withdrawal from Roland Garros this year, due to a back injury.  No. 7-ranked DelPo has followed him out the door.  This is a shame, given DelPo’s consistent performance on clay during his career.  Given DelPo’s steady performance until IW this year, he might have been the best legitimate “dark horse” contender to shake up the Roland Garros draw.  Alas, the virus has virtually wiped out all of his clay season this year.

DelPo and Muzz’s withdrawals mean that no. 9-ranked Gasquet and no. 10-ranked Tipsarevic are now top 8 seeds at Roland Garros.  Tipsarevic just lost his opening round match to no. 101-ranked Guido Pella at Dusseldorf (the Serbian is also ranked a lowly no. 29 in the Race to London, far below the rest of the top 10).

Last year in 2012, DelPo won the Portugal Open, reached the SF at Madrid, R3 at Rome and the QF at Roland Garros (for a total of 1060 ranking points on clay — he went 16-5 on clay in five tournaments, including DC).  This year, DelPo lost in R3 at Monte Carlo, skipped the Portugal Open and the Madrid Masters and then lost in R3 at Rome (for a total of 180 ranking points on clay — he went 2-2 on clay in two tournaments).  It’s safe to say that the difference in his clay season can be attributed to the effects of the virus that struck him after Monte Carlo.

I will update as I hear more news from his camp regarding the status of his health and his recovery.

Bottom-line: DelPo will lose the 360 QF points he was defending from last year at Roland Garros.  No. 8-ranked Tsonga has a slight chance of overtaking DelPo for the no. 7 position if the Frenchman reaches the SF at RG.

DelPo is currently no. 8 in the 2013 Race to London (he is ahead of Tsonga by 5 points).  After Roland Garros, he will fall out of the top 8 in the Race to London.

Update (05.23.2013): DelPo sent a Facebook message to his supporters, where he thanked everyone for their support and promised to do his best to return to his best level.

A short timeline of DelPo’s virus: He had respiratory and digestive problems shortly after losing in Monte Carlo (on April 26).  He made the decision not to defend his Portugal Open title.  DelPo seemed to be on the mend, but he then experienced a relapse that involved bronchospasms (more respiratory trouble).  This caused him to withdraw from the Madrid Masters (on May 3).  Although he played in Rome, he lost early and returned home to consult a cardiologist, who would work with him on his recovery.  Both the doctor and his team made the decision that his preparation and physical condition were insufficient for the demands of playing a Slam.

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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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7 Responses to Roland Garros: DelPo Withdraws Due to Complications from Virus

  1. audiesgirl@aol.com says:

    Some musings on the implications of Delpo’s extended absence from the ATP tour:
    First, the true nature of his illness is still a mystery. By now, they would have done a complete work-up to identify the virus. It’s becoming obvious it’s not something normally self-limiting like a bad cold but a possibly long-term or chronic condition, I hope not mono.
    Second, nobody’s talking about the psychological toll the past 6 months have taken starting with the Davis Cup drama. The continual badgering he’s getting by disgruntled Argies with Nalby fanning the flames must be a factor. Delpo’s always had confidence problems and watching his home fan base evaporating digs the hole deeper. Sounds like he could benefit from a sports psychologist, too. Or an intensive program of Tango Therapy.
    Third, Ugo must be tearing out what little hair he has left over the threat to their sponsor relationships. Who wants their brand associated with a sickly athlete? Could this be the real reason why he signed up Andy, who ironically now has his own health problems? We don’t know the result of his work-up, either. We’re talking serious guita here.
    Fourth, it appears Pico has found a new motivation in all this: to replace Delpo in the hearts of the Argies as the next hope for Argie tennis; I imagine he’s tired of being in Juan’s shadow all these years. Like a race horse in the backfield, he sees an opening and he’s going for it. He’s played very well in Dusseldorf. Ditto Guido Pella who, if Nalby has to drop out of the DC, could be the one to fill the void not hard on the eyes, either. They have to find somebody.
    Lastly, what’s this mean for Roger’s exhos planned for December in ARG? Did Pico cook up the Rafa/Nalby match to steal Delpo’s thunder? He and Rafa are in such a bromance. Will it drain ticket sales from Roger? Fed’s too smart to be drawn into something that won’t promise big returns, if he’s smart, he’ll make his appearance conditional upon who’s on the other side of the net and we’re not sure Juan will be healthy.

  2. Candy says:

    Before the clay season, I really had high hopes on Delpo in clay season. Unfortunately, he got this “virus”.

    I’m feeling a bit like how I felt in 2010 before Delpo’s surgery. I kept on waiting for Delpo’s (good) news and kept on hoping. They said he would return, but then no, he withdrew. Waited again, hoped for something better. Then, one day, he needed a surgery. Then, no Delpo at RG. This time, the problem might not be as serious as last time (who knows though?!). But I (or we) have been doing the same things – waiting and hoping (and worrying) again. Anyway, I’m still positive at this moment! Hope it won’t take him too long away from the tour!

    (By the way, the tango therapy would be fun, hah! ;))

    • mariposaxprs says:

      First of all, let’s hope it hasn’t reached the depressing depths of his wrist injury in 2009-2010. This latest hiccup is different in the sense that it’s a virus, which is slightly more difficult to confirm/detect.

      Honestly, I can see where you’re coming from. The mention of any “virus” brings to mind the threat of “mono.” In that sense, I am also relieved that DelPo withdrew from Roland Garros. Skipping RG is much smarter for his long-term health. Again, I remember being confused by Soderilng’s up-and-down-form in 2011 — Soderling himself has said he shouldn’t have played Wimbledon in 2011, b/c he might’ve otherwise saved himself to further his career. While DelPo isn’t a confirmed case of mono, I think the same ethos should guide his approach toward treating this virus — he shouldn’t rush his recovery and he should take the long-term view.

      DelPo lost so much weight in the past few months — I hope he spends the next couple of weeks beefing up and gaining strength to return to tour (normally, I prefer when he’s slimmer, but this virus has changed my attitude 😉 ) Really, I hope there is much more positive news in the upcoming weeks. I don’t doubt his decision to withdraw from RG, I just hope that everything else falls into place.

  3. Iram says:

    wow that really is awful news. Is it just me or do i only hear of tennis players getting attacked with mono?! It’s sad that Robin couldn’t come back to the game. I really pray that Delpo gets over this nasty condition and comes back. Even if it’s not to his crazy peak…I still wanna see him compete on the ATP tour.
    Hope u’ve been well. 🙂

    • mariposaxprs says:

      DelPo doesn’t have mono at this point. But it does seem like many tennis players get mono — I think the constant international travel (time spent in planes, new time zones, adjusting to new climates, etc), combined with the stress of playing in a new environment almost every week makes them more vulnerable to sickness.

      Thankfully, there’s no news of DelPo having mono — at this point, it just seems like a harsh virus. He looked much skinnier in Rome, so I think it’s good he decided to skip Roland Garros. With the extra rest, he can gain back the weight and feel more comfortable running around the court.

      Hope you’re well too, Iram!! I’ve heard there are parts of Europe that are still snowing, but it’s pretty warm here where I am. I imagine it’s reaching summer temperature in California too? Stay cool 🙂

  4. audiesgirl@aol.com says:

    Sad but not surprising. Being away from the tour will take it’s toll unless like Nadal he has a miraculous recovery to top form. One would assume that when he feels up to practicing it will be on grass. Frankly, I’m not optimistic. It is looking more and more like mono or some similar virus and if so, the worse thing he could do is rush his recovery. His erratic health beginning last year when the his knee and other wrist flared up has to take a psychological toll, too; it’s hard to keep one’s spirits up when you never know when your body’s going to turn against you. Also, we don’t know the status of his mother’s health crisis which could be a factor.
    So where does that leave RG? Will Roger come back strong or peter out early? It won’t be worth getting up before dawn without our Delpo so I’ll sleep in and catch the replays.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yea, I don’t think we can expect those kinds of miracles. For now, let’s just hope that DelPo’s doctor knows what he’s working with. If the virus does turn out to be mono, skipping RG will be a smart decision in hindsight. All that travel and the grind may have worn out his immune system. We’ll just have to stay tuned to his recovery and hope he comes back in time for the grass season.

      RG will be boring without DelPo this year. Maybe Berdy will finally do something? I’d hope not though. I’d actually like it if a youngster like Jerzy Janowicz shook things up, like he did last year when he reached the Paris Masters final. A great showing from Fed would also be welcome. Right now, the plot seems headed in a very obvious direction…

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