Here are some belated photos of JMDP from his first two matches against Sousa and Falla (courtesy once again of the legendary Pedro).
After an initial wobble against Sousa, JMDP looked terrifyingly solid against Falla yesterday and now faces Robin Soderling in the quarter-finals tomorrow. I wrote a sort of thing about that match here on tennis.com; by way of prediction, let me say that on on-court form, JMDP will win. On practice court form, Robin will win. Either way, it’s going to be exciting …
Here is the transcript of yesterday’s (very short) press conference …
Your level today, was it even better than yesterday and how pleased are you?
Yes, I played much better today. I feel confidence with my game and basically with my serve. Always it’s tough to play against this kind of player but I made a good match, I go through and hopefully be ready to play against Soderling.
You’ve beaten him on all surfaces but never clay. What are you thinking of for the next match?
Well, for me, I think it’s going to be different here with different weather, different surface. He’s playing really well this season, he made fantastic results on clay and he’s playing really good tennis. Of course I will try to beat him but I will need to be focused during the match all the time and try to take my opportunities and be in good shape to beat him.
How close do you feel you are to the kind of form you had in 2009, and what aspects of your game need to get better, do you think?
I don’t know, I’m trying to come back at a good level. I think I’m improving very fast and I don’t know if I can play like I did in 2009 or not; maybe I can play worse, or better, this year. But I know it’s a long road to be safety [sic], to be healthy and play on all surfaces against all the players and at a good level too. But I am trying to improve my game, and improve my body, my physique and I will see if I’m ready to play again.
Guess who asked the final, idiotic question? Yes, that’s right. I did. In fairness, I wasn’t expecting to say anything. In fact, I thought seriously that I wasn’t going in for fear of crying or falling over or spontaneously combusting. But then he walked in, all giant and … giant with his tousled hair, and I couldn’t resist. And then nobody else had any questions after the first two and, well, I couldn’t let him leave thinking he wasn’t wanted. In fact, I couldn’t let him leave.
So I said a question, the only question which occurred to me at that point (apart from “So, Juan Martin, how are you so GIANT and AMAZING?!”), and he answered me looking at me all the time with his amazing green eyes – which, in person, are up close and amazing. And I pretended to scribble notes in my notebook and audibly giggled when he said he needed to improve his body, and thanked him very politely after he finished, and then went off and died in a corner.
Oh, and you don’t get the full humiliating force of this story until you realise that I was sunburned at the time, but only on the bits I’d missed with my factor 50, while the rest of my skin continues to be blinding white.
And that is the story of probably the one and only time I will ever get to be in a room with Juan Martin del Potro, let alone have him speak to me or look at me with his huge, amazing green eyes. (Seriously, I think I’m pregnant. With a green baby.) But just in case I do catch him tomorrow (my last day), can anyone think of any sensible/witty/incisive questions I should ask him?
Apart from “So, Juan Martin, how are you so GIANT and AMAZING?!”. Because he is.