Juan Martin del Potro has never been a great lover of red clay, despite having taken the whim to reach the semifinal twice at the Roland Garros (2009 and 2018). In the edition of eleven years ago, the Argentine champion put Roger Federer to the test, who had given him just three games at the Australian Open that year.
The Swiss phenomenon, which in 2009 won the first and only Roland Garros of his career, was forced to reassemble a set of disadvantages twice before imposing himself on the fifth set in the noise of Philippe Chatrier. During a recent interview with Alejandro Fantino for ESPN, the 2009 US Open champion recalled that painful defeat that prevented him from hitting a final unexpected and prestigious.
Del Potro: 'That match hit me a lot'
"I felt inside me that it was the opportunity to win my first Grand Slam and I had let it pass. That match hit me a lot, I felt like a loser" - Juan Martin del Potro said. "Then I was lucky that months later I was able to play the US Open final," Del Potro reminisced modestly about his maiden Grand Slam title.
I have to go back to play and I have to go with my mom and dad and say, 'Roger Federer, say hi to my old men.' That is something that motivates me. I don't know how I'm going to do it, (but) I played for so many years with wrist pain that if I have to play a little more with knee pain to close a cycle as I like, I make an effort" - he concluded.
In the 2017 U.S. Open quarterfinals, in a rematch of the 2009 US Open final, Del Potro again beat Federer in four sets to end his unbeaten streak in grand slams that year. With this win, Del Potro also denied the first Federer-Nadal match at US Open, as in 2009 where he beat Nadal in straight sets in the semifinals.
Federer, however avenged this loss at the Shanghai Masters semifinals, where he beat del Potro in three sets after coming from a set down. In the final at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open del Potro beat Federer in three close sets, after facing match points in the third set.
With this win del Potro won his first Masters 1000 title of his career. When play resumes on Tour, 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro will have a new coach working alongside him.