J. DEL POTRO/T. Berdych 7‑6, 1‑6, 6‑3, 7‑5

 

 

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

 

 

Q.  That was some match.  Just give us a sense of your emotion, having to restart, having to come back today and start again.  What were you thinking last night and what were you thinking this morning?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Well, I have a bad experience in this tournament last year.  I was playing much better than Djokovic, and then the lights condition have to stop the match.  I don’t have the good experience in this case.

I get up very positive, trying to close the match in the fourth set, and I start ‑‑ I restart the match very focus, broke his serve, and then he play better.

But in the end, I was really, really focused to try to win the fourth set, and I did it in the last game, playing really well.

Q.  We see the bandage on your knee.  Are you physically 100%?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Almost.

 

Q.  Almost?  99?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  No, but I’m really glad to go through, to play quarters again.  I’m not thinking about my knee, as I want to play the best I can.  I’m looking forward for the next match.

 

Q.  Maybe a couple of thoughts about playing Roger here?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  We play fantastic match three years ago.  It was close to him, but tomorrow is gonna be a different match.  He’s playing really well, and he’s looking to win again here.  So the match is gonna be really difficult for me.

But I will try to play aggressive, like every match, and trying to ‑‑ if I have a little chance to win, trying to be ready for taking.

 

Q.  What’s the key factors in your game to beat Federer, do you think?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  I play an unbelievable match, try to take my opportunities, serve 100%, trying to play winners with my forehand, with my backhand, and put him to raise his game.  I don’t like to run too much, so I will try to be more aggressive than his game and looking at unbelievable shots.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in Spanish.

 

Q.  Juan, two weeks ago in Madrid, you played those dream games.  You played and you lost.  This time you won.  Was it because of the surface?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  The other match was really tight.  We had two tie breaks, 8‑6, 9‑7.  That one time he won, but it could have been me.

This time the rallies were long.  The conditions were heavy.  It wasn’t like Madrid.  I had to run more.  I had to be much stronger.  During the third set I thought I was really being supported by the crowd.  They encouraged me, which obviously helped me to play a much easier set.

I felt confident.  Thanks to them, I could win the fourth set.

 

Q.  Before the tournament, you had problems with your knee.  Were you thinking you could actually weasel your way through the five best players?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Well, when I came to this tournament, the only thing that mattered was to play ‑‑ well, forget about my knee.  And in the first round, I had to give it all.

Obviously I wanted to refrain from thinking about my injury or anything that had to do with my knee.

Now, this is the second week.  We have only eight players left.  Very good players.  All of them.

Obviously the level is very high.  But in spite of everything, maybe I will get a chance to play a beautiful match with Federer.  I’m going to prepare the best I can and seize every single opportunity.

 

Q.  When you started, you broke him immediately.  Then he broke you.  How did you feel?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Well, okay.  The break wasn’t going to hand me the match, anyway, because that break came too early in the match.

When I finally really got into the match, I had to make him run.  I had to make sure he made mistakes through the rallies.  Then there were some really long rallies.

I felt well.  And in the end I felt relieved, because I was able to play the fourth set, and the fact that I actually had time to recover last night.

 

Q.  How about your night after this match?  How could you focus now to make sure that the match against Djokovic is different?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Well, I knew that I was able to grasp opportunities if the match continued the way it had started, but I also knew that for the fact that we were not going to be able to wrap up the match before the night came.

I tried to relax.  I slept well.  Because again last year it was a bad experience.  So I was trying to manage things differently.

I thought, okay, this is an entirely new match.  Anyway, he was exactly in the same situation as I was, so I thought, okay, this is a new match.  And I wanted to start the match really focused right from the beginning.

 

Q.  What do you think you need to change against Federer compared with the other matches you’ve played before?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Well, this would be the very first time that we would actually be playing each other on clay.  Obviously the previous matches were useful because they helped me learn how he plays, read his game, read his play.

But I need to continue improving.  I need to try and close the gap between us.  Those are facts.

The four best players are one notch above all the others.  They are the leading pack.  And what I want to do is get as close as possible to the leading pack.

So I’ll do my best.  I will walk onto the court with a very aggressive mindset, bearing in mind that I want to, for instance, play more volleys, walk to the net, and I want to play aggressive.  Although I know that he’s going to try and do the same to try and defeat me.

So we will all try and advance to the next round.

 

Q.  We observe you, and we see changes in your footwork, in your movements, and also the fact that you play more drops, and it wasn’t like that previously.  Did you train especially on those aspects?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Yes, I have been working on those aspects, because they help me be more aggressive, attacking more, long balls, keeping a certain pace, and at the same time being able to break this pace now and again that he can not feel comfortable.

And tomorrow I cannot afford to miss anything.  I really need to get my act together.  I need to be focused on all the shots, and I need to be aggressive throughout the match.

 

Q.  So nothing really extraordinary in the way you practice?  But do you ever think, no, it’s my knee that’s bothering me, or do you forget about it?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  No, every match is a new match, and whether I win or lose for matters regarding tennis, that’s fine.  But I don’t want my knee to be a hindrance.  And it is not a hindrance.  It doesn’t bother me.  I cannot say I lost this match because of my knee.  Not at all.

I’m going to walk onto the court tomorrow prepared to play my best tennis.  And if everything goes well, all the better.  If it doesn’t, well, it means my opponent played better than I did.

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