Los Angeles, 26 July 2011 | AFP

Juan Martin del Potro can’t wait to get back to the US Open, scene of his breakthrough Grand Slam triumph in 2009, but first he’ll try to take care of business in a return to US hard courts at Los Angeles.

“I am very excited to come back to New York,” said del Potro, who didn’t get a chance to defend his title at Flushing Meadows in 2010 after a wrist injury cut short his season.

“If I could start to play tomorrow I would. First I have very important tournaments before.

“This tournament, it’s important for me – it will be my first tournament after clay and grass season.”

The Argentinian is the second seed behind American Mardy Fish in the USD$619,500 (AUD$574,090) tournament on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles.

He has painstakingly climbed from 484th in the world rankings to 19th and admitted he was ready to put the wrist injury behind him and just focus on his game.

“It has been a very long while since my wrist injury. Now I’m OK and getting better with my tennis with my mind and all my problems are in the past,” said del Potro, who joked that he had answered so many questions about the injury that he now just pushes “play” and starts talking when asked about it.

He’s less concerned with the past than with the future and his goal of returning to the top 10.

“I still believe in my game,” said del Potro who, like Fish and third and fourth seeds Marcos Baghdatis and Thomaz Bellucci, enjoys a first-round bye here. “I’m very confident with my level at this moment.”

Del Potro noted that Los Angeles was the scene of his first hardcourt title, in 2008. This year it will be a jumping off point for the Masters events at Montreal and Cincinnati prior to the US Open, which starts on August 29 in New York.

“It’s a nice tournament for me,” said del Potro, who was ousted in the fourth round at Wimbledon by Rafael Nadal. “I won my first hardcourt tournament here in LA. I have very good memories.”

Since Wimbledon, del Potro helped Argentina to a 5-0 whitewash of Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup, the Argentinians booking a semifinal showdown with defending champs Serbia in the nations tournament.

Fish arrives in Los Angeles after winning the title in Atlanta on Sunday, when he saved two match points en route to a victory over big-serving American John Isner.