With the Argentinian National Football Team bowing out of the FIFA World Cup early, Juan Martin del Potro’s seems to be Argentina’s only hope in getting a piece of major silverware this month.
Del Potro has been playing well all tournament and has a decent draw for him to make a deep run here. He will most likely play Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, who has not played well here for the past six years, and with Wimbledon being his “weakest” Grand Slam, the Argentine has a chance. Novak Djokovic most likely awaits him in the semifinals next, who can still be vulnerable at times and is not at 100%
Even though del Potro is not known for his grass court prowess, he has won the 2012 Olympic Bronze Medal on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, beating Djokovic. He also reached the 2013 Wimbledon semifinals.
Having been constantly riddled with injuries is the only reason he hasn’t excelled on this surface as much as he would have liked. Del Potro’s style of play is extremely suited to grass, big first serve and flat hard groundstrokes, resulting in the ball he hits to skid off the court extremely fast, thus giving his opponents less time to react.
Del Potro spoke to the media after his last match.
“I know my game is adapting to this surface. I had my chances to win here a few years ago, but I lost to Djokovic in the semifinals, but he was playing so good. I am confident with my game at this time. I am going match by match, and I am doing a good tournament already.
“I am hitting more offensively with my two-handed backhand now which is good for my game. On this surface, I can mix it up with my slices and hit hard when I have the chances to make a winner. I think I am improving overall, especially my backhand.”
Tennis has always been a way of life in Argentina, and another factor that will prove decisive is the Argentinian crowd. The Argentinian crowd is known to be noisy, and del Potro feeds off the energy from Argentinian fanatics, when he is looking down and out. During the 2017 US Open, del Potro was two sets to love down against Dominic Thiem and was facing match point before he pulled off one the most miraculous comebacks in US Open history. After the match, del Potro cited the crowd as the main reason he won that match.
“I took all the energy from the fans. When I saw the crowd was cheering for me, I was feeling better. I fought like this because of these guys. People were crazy to see me, to share a moment with me. Even now, their support keeps me going. More than anything else, I play for them.”
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