Janowicz Continues Comeback In Challengers
Former Wimbledon semifinalist returns after six months out with injury
After dealing with injuries for the majority of 2016, Jerzy Janowicz is finally healthy and ready to start climbing up the Emirates ATP Rankings.
The former Top 15 player was limited to just one match in the first half of the season due to a knee injury. Janowicz had struggled with knee issues in recent years and underwent a procedure last year to treat a patella tendon rupture in his left knee.
After an extensive period of rest and rehab, Janowicz returned to the ATP Challenger Tour in July at the $75,000 event in Segovia, Spain. He’s primarily been playing Challengers since then as he looks to gain match play and rebuild confidence in his game.
“My rehab was long because I got injured during last year’s US Open and then tried to play through it at the end of the season, which was quite stupid on my side,” he said. “The doctors said it wouldn’t be easy to come back and there was a chance I might not be able to, but I was still hoping to get better. Now, I’m just trying to get back in shape again.”
Janowicz is taking positive steps towards that at this week’s $125,000+H Challenger event in Genova, Italy. Showing that his knee can withstand plenty of time on court, he prevailed in a long three-set match over Lorenzo Sonego of Italy and then defeated No. 2 seed Horacio Zeballos of Argentina in a second-round clash on Thursday.
But perhaps his most encouraging result was actually a loss. At this year’s US Open, Janowicz hung tough with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and even took a set off the defending champion before falling in a competitive match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It’s never easy to play against Djokovic. It doesn’t matter where or when or what shape I’m in,” said Janowicz. “I was just trying to play my best tennis. I was actually a little bit unlucky because I had quite a few chances to take the first set.”
Janowicz will have another stern challenge ahead of him when he plays second seed Horacio Zeballos of Argentina on Thursday in a second-round clash in Genova. But regardless of how this week turns out for the Polish star, he is confident his game is moving in the right direction.
“Some moments I play good tennis and some moments I’m a little bit down on myself,” admitted Janowicz. “I have to get some matches, [but] this week is actually quite good… I’m getting some confidence out of it.”