As road to U.S. Open begins, Del Potro looks back at Wimbledon


Juan Martin del Potro returned to Washington, D.C., to compete at the Citi Open for the first time in four years. Then called the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, the Argentine capped off back-to-back titles en route to his lone major championship, the 2009 U.S. Open.

A wildcard this year, the 24-year-old top seed has gradually climbed his way back up the rankings following a serious wrist injury in 2010, most notably winning the bronze medal at last year’s Olympic Games. But although the D.C. stop marks the beginning of the month-long North American hardcourt season and U.S. Open series, it was his Wimbledon semifinal campaign that piqued the interest of reporters during his press conference to kick off the Citi Open. Del Potro’s grass season culminated in a gripping five-set loss to Novak Djokovic that lasted four hours and 43 minutes, and despite the defeat, he looks at the match as an important learning experience.

“The match was incredible for me, for him, for the crowd, for the tournament,” del Potro said. “It was a very good experience for me even though I lost. I played against the No. 1 in the world on the Centre Court of Wimbledon in my first semifinals there. So, there are many good things to take [away].”

“In tennis, one has to win and one has to lose,” added del Potro, who said that he was able to hold his head high after the defeat, partly because Djokovic is a friend of his. “That day [Novak] beat me, but I remember last year for the bronze medal in the Olympics, I beat him. This is the sport. This is tennis.”

When pressed further on the topic of sportsmanship and how he can take losses so well, the 6’6″ soft-spoken “Gentle Giant,” as he is often nicknamed, responded, “In the end, the crowd and the fans like to see all the players [as] very friendly.”

Del Potro then joked to much laughter from reporters, “Of course, at the end of the match I would like to kill Novak for beating me. But I couldn’t do that.”

Video: Juan Martin del Potro – Citi Open press conference – July 29, 2013
video by Kwai Chan & Mai Chan / Meniscus Magazine