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Del Potro robbed leaving Paris tennis
16:58 AEST Sun Nov 3 2013

World No.5 tennis player Juan Martin del Potro has revealed he was robbed at a Paris railway station with thieves making off with a cherished rosary blessed by Pope Francis.

Del Potro was checking in at Gare de Nord in the French capital when he stopped to sign an autograph.

As he placed his bag on the floor, the thieves made off with his possessions which also included his passport and cash.

"I was doing the check-in to ride on the train and then I was asked for an autograph. I turned around to sign it and, within 20 seconds, (my bag) had been stolen," del Potro said through his media service.

His rosary "which I take everywhere" was blessed by Pope Francis when del Potro played at the Rome Masters earlier this year.

The Argentine was on his way to London to take part in the season-ending World Tour Finals which start on Monday.

He was defeated by Roger Federer in the Paris Masters quarter-finals on Friday.

The 25-year-old later posted a photograph of himself and a friend on his Facebook page as he prepared to leave his hotel for the London tournament dinner.

"Getting ready for the gala dinner in London with my great little friend. Thanks for your messages, especially today," he wrote.

Del Potro later said that he did not rule out the prospect that he had been targeted.

"It was weird and very fast. I don't know if I was set up," he told the www.atpworldtour.com site.

"The Rosary was very valuable to me and I'm sad I lost it. I also lost my passport, some personal documents and money, but the Rosary was the most important thing. It's the first time something like this has happened to me. I'll try to enjoy the tournament and not let this affect me."

Federer sympathised with del Potro but said he had never been robbed in a similar fashion although he came close.

"I think we once saw a guy just take our bag off the baggage claim. He thought it was his. We stopped him doing that, so ... He never did it again. We never saw him again," said the Swiss.