Tuesday November 5th, 2013

Juan Martin del Potro squeaked by Juan Martin del Potro squeaked by Richard Gasquet during group play at the World Tour Finals. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

LONDON -- Juan Martin del Potro was the picture of relief after his 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-5 win over Richard Gasquet in his opening round of group play at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday night, admitting that the theft of his personal possessions in Paris over the weekend was still weighing heavily on his mind.

"After the win, everything is much better," del Potro joked. "But in the beginning of the match, I couldn't be positive. I was frustrated [because of] the days before I came here. I was thinking [about] too many things. I [wasn't playing] my game. It was really difficult to be positive and be focused just on the match. But then the atmosphere down there was incredible, and that helped me to enjoy the match."

Del Potro says he has not heard any updates from the French police regarding his stolen briefcase, which contained his passport, money and a prized rosary that was blessed by Pope Francis earlier this year.

"I have a few things which mean a lot [to me]," del Potro said, "[but] I don't have [the rosary] anymore."

When asked why the incident was affecting him, del Potro got visibly emotional.

"I like to play tennis," he said. "I enjoy a lot my work. But someone took some part of my life. It's really recent. It's tough to not think about that." Del Potro will also face Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in round-robin play before the semifinals are set.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.