Juan Martin del Potro is off to an ominous start to his ATP World Tour Finals campaign. After losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters on Friday, the Argentine was traveling to London on Saturday morning when his briefcase containing his passport, money and other personal items was stolen at the Gare du Nord station in Paris.
“I was finishing the check-in and was asked for an autograph,” del Potro said via a statement from his communications manager, Jorge Viale. “I turned around to sign it and within 20 seconds, it was stolen.”
What is it about Paris? Last year, Rafael Nadal’s $375,000 Richard Mille watch was stolen by hotel staff the morning after he won his seventh French Open title.
Passports and cash can be replaced. Del Potro’s primary concern was a treasured rosary that he received earlier this year. “My rosary was blessed by Pope Francis, which I carried everywhere,” he said. “That’s what matters most to me.” Del Potro met the new Pope, who hails from Argentina, in May when he was in Rome to play the Italian Open. Since that meeting, del Potro won three titles, made the semifinals of Wimbledon in a memorable five-set match against Novak Djokovic, and scored big wins over Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer this fall.
Del Potro’s luck didn’t get much better when the draw for the World Tour Finals was made on Sunday afternoon, as he was put into the group that includes Djokovic, Federer, and Richard Gasquet (Nadal, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, and Stanislas Wawrinka were drawn into the other group). Needless to say, it was a long day for del Potro.
He opens his tournament Monday night against Gasquet.