Del Potro seeks inspiration from Palermo

BUENOS AIRES - U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has turned to football player Martin Palermo for inspiration in his recovery from wrist surgery.

Del Potro is no closer, however, to knowing how long it will take for him to recover from Tuesday's operation on a nagging right wrist injury in the United States. He has not played since the Australian Open in January.

"I'm going to talk with Palermo because no-one knows better than him how to come back better from an injury," the 21-year-old was quoted by Argentine media as saying on Thursday.

Palermo, the 36-year-old Boca Juniors striker likely to play for Argentina at the World Cup in South Africa starting next month, has twice come back from major surgery.

Del Potro, speaking on his return to Argentina on Thursday morning, said that first he needed simply to rest in his home town of Tandil, 350 km south of Buenos Aires.

"The recovery time will be long," he said. "The surgery has left me more relaxed because although a long time will pass, I'll be able to return to the courts.

"I don't know in what ranking position I'll return, the only thing I think about is coming back and having fun."

He thanked leading players Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray for their support and said he was in contact with Palermo.

"No-one like him will be able to explain to me what you feel having been operated on, recovering and coming back better," Del Potro said.

Palermo broke his left leg in 2001 playing for Villarreal in Spain when he stood on a wall to celebrate a goal and it collapsed under the weight of fans. Back at Boca in 2008 he tore knee ligaments.

He has since set a record of 222 goals for Boca.

Del Potro is an avid Boca fan and has sought relief from his injury woes going to the team's Bombonera (chocolate box) stadium to watch home games.

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