Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has revealed he actually likes football more than he likes tennis.
The current world number seven was speaking in an interview with FIFA.com when asked about his passion for football.
Del Potro is currently recovering from a virus that forced him to pull out of this year’s French Open, though he is expected to be fit for Wimbledon later next month.
The Argentine spoke of his passion for football and how he was forced to choose between it and tennis when he was a young boy.
“When I was about 12 or 13 I had to choose between tennis and football and I went for tennis,” he said.
“My football coach spoke a lot with my tennis coach. Neither of them wanted to let me go, and the fact is I always liked football more.
“The decision came about, though, because there was a very important football tournament at the same time as a South American championship for 12-year-olds in Brazil.
“As I’d never been out of the country, I said: 'I’m going to Brazil to play tennis.'”
Despite being a top-level tennis player, with all the lifestyle restrictions that entails, Del Potro still plays football regularly with his friends in his hometown of Tandil.
A Boca Juniors supporter, he explained that still doing things like having a friendly kickabout with friends was extremely important to him.
This is partly down to the fact that he enjoys football more than he enjoys tennis, which he claimed had become more like a job and obligation as time has passed.
“It’s [football] the number-one for me. I really love it. I watch football in my spare time and I play it with my friends too,” he added.
“I don’t get a lot of free time in Buenos Aires, but we’ve got some teams set up over in Tandil and every time I go there for a few days we have a few games before the sun goes down or before a barbecue.
“The fact is I love the game. Actually I like it even more than tennis, which is like a job to me now.
“I still have this desire deep down to play a competitive match for any club that will have me when I finish my tennis career.
“I want to experience that intensity and play for points, which is what I did when I was young.”