The Tower of Tandil has just three matches under his belt in 2019.

Juan Martin del Potro is hoping to begin building form in Madrid, as he makes a return from a two month hiatus, which was needed to continue the rehabilitation of his fractured right patella.

The Tower of Tandil, making his first competitive appearance since February, has been drawn to face either Laslo Djere or Dusan Lajovic in the second round (after a first-round bye), and he’ll also pair with Kei Nishikori in doubles.

“I’m progressing every day,” Del Potro told reporters. “Coming to this tournament is one more step for me in my rehabilitation and my final recovery to feeling completely fit again and completely healing the knee injury. I think that I’m feeling better every day and I’m starting to train with the best players, which gives me my rhythm and gets me playing my best tennis. And although I need time to adapt to that rhythm, I think this is a good time for me to start to do that and that’s why I’m here.”

Tennis Express

Del Potro, who injured the knee last October in Shanghai, has made just one tour-level appearance this season. He lost in the quarter-finals at the Delray Beach Open, and quickly realized that his knee, while better, was not quite ready for prime time.

He says that he’ll know a lot more about his form and fitness after he and Nishikori take on Robert Lindstedt and Fabio Fognini in the first round of the doubles.

“To me, playing doubles is important to test myself, to move and to start to get a feeling for playing in an official match and not just training,” he said. “If I feel as we expect after the doubles and nothing strange happens, I’m sure I’ll want to play the singles match. That’s what I’m hoping, but I have to take it day by day and hope. I’m not in any rush to start playing and to return to the tour, but my return is getting closer and closer… So it will be a few days or more yet, but I am really looking forward to doing it.”