Cape Town - Juan Martin del Potro is ready to get his 2019 season up and running, but he admits it will be difficult to repeat his heroics of last year.
After suffering a second serious wrist injury in 2015 that nearly forced him to quit the sport, Del Potro made a remarkable return to the top of tennis with the 2018 campaign a particularly impressive one.
He won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells, reached a career-high of No 3 in the world rankings and finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the US Open.
However, he was forced to end his season early due to a fractured his right patella bone, which also saw him miss this year's Australian Open.
He is hoping to make his comeback at this month's Delray Beach Open, but he admits it will be tough to replicate last year's success.
"It is difficult to repeat a year like the previous one, but obviously I would like to. Even if i didn't play in Australia, started a bit behind those I have above me in the rankings. In recent years my career has surprised me," he is quoted as saying by Ubi Tennis.
He added: "I'm very excited to be able to start (the 2019 season) at last, I've already missed an important tournament."
During his absence in Australia, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal dominated the season-opening Grand Slam with the Serb winning his third major in a row.
As always the big question is when will the so-called Next Gen take over the baton from the veterans?
"I think it will continue to be them (Djokovic and Nadal) who are fighting for the top places," Del Potro said.
"There are a lot of good players, it's a matter of time for those to move places, but still Rafa, Djokovic, the same with (Roger) Federer, when it comes to playing the big tournaments, they are a little higher.
"The new group is going to push and move us. They have to be consistent throughout the season and in the big tournaments."