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Juan Martin del Potro won his first ATP Masters 1000 last year at the BNP Paribas Open.

Defending Champion Del Potro Withdraws From Indian Wells

Argentine will miss the season's first ATP Masters 1000

Juan Martin del Potro will not go back-to-back at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The Argentine, still on the comeback from another injury, announced his withdrawal from the season's first ATP Masters 1000 on Wednesday.

I am truly disappointed that I will not be able to return to the BNP Paribas Open to defend my title,” Del Potro said. “It is one of my favourite tournaments, and I have incredible memories from last year, but my doctors have advised me to rest. I hope to be back on court soon.”

Del Potro fractured his right patella more than four months ago, on 11 October, at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. He missed the Rolex Paris Masters and the Nitto ATP Finals to finish 2018, and the Australian Open to start this season.

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Del Potro felt healthy enough to make his season debut last week at the Delray Beach Open, where he fell in the quarter-finals. But he wore a bandage on his rehabbed right knee and admitted to feeling pain throughout the ATP 250.

BNP Paribas Open Tournament Director Tommy Haas said: I fully understand how difficult it can be to deal with injuries, and that coming back from them is not always a straightforward process. We wish Juan Martin all the best in his recovery, and hope to see him back at the BNP Paribas Open next year.”

The prolonged recovery could knock Del Potro out of the Top 10. He currently has 5,085 ATP Rankings points, but he will drop 1,500 points by not retaining his title at this week's Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco, an ATP 500 event, and at the BNP Paribas Open, where the champion receives 1,000 ATP Rankings points.

Japan's Taro Daniel, who beat Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells last year, will take Del Potro's place in the draw. The tournament begins 7 March.

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