INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open because of persistent pain in his left wrist.
Del Potro, who made the final last year, played a doubles match on Saturday with the goal of testing the injury and evaluating whether he should continue to play. Clearly the trial did not go well and he called a news conference on Sunday morning to announce his withdrawal. Del Potro had been scheduled to play Feliciano Lopez in the second round after a first-round bye. Lucky loser James Ward replaced him in the draw.
"I'm not feeling 100 percent, and I'm not in good condition to compete and to try to to win the tournament," he said. "I always like to feel good and feel the chance to win the tournament, and I'm not feeling that. The wrist is still bothering me a lot, and my doctors tell me to wait 10 more days doing the treatment and do everything possible to play in Miami."
Del Potro's withdrawal comes almost two weeks after he retired from his opening-round match at the Dubai Championships. Now ranked No. 7, the Argentine began the year by winning the Sydney International. But the pain in his wrist hasn't allowed him to play his best and he lost in the second round at the Australian Open.
Wrist injuries have been a constant problem for the 25-year-old. After winning the 2009 U.S. Open, a right-wrist injury knocked him off the tour for most of the 2010 season. Del Potro's current injury, to the ligaments in his left wrist, is similar and he's been doing everything he can to avoid surgery. But his experience with this sort of injury has taught him to be cautious.
"Sometimes it's better to lose the tournament than lose a year," he said. "The doctor recommends to me to don't play here, to keep trying the treatment, and the next chance will be in Miami if I feel in good condition to win a tournament. Not like just win a match, you know. It's a big difference. We will see in Miami. After that tournament, I will know what is going to be my future." Del Potro's next tournament is the Sony Open in Miami, which begins on March 17.