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June 3, 2017

Juan Martin Del Potro

Paris, France

A. MURRAY/J. Del Potro

7-6, 7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. After the first set, you were playing great and then you stood at the net for a while. Can you try and tell us, was that pain, frustration, a mix of both? What were you feeling at that moment?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, too much frustration. I couldn't believe that set, that I lost that set, because I had many opportunities to win. I have been playing great, great points during whole, the first set.

But this happens when you play against the No. 1 in the world or a great champion as Andy or Rafa or Roger or these guys. You never know when you can win a set or a match, and that's happen today.

Q. Not to search for excuses, but physically you didn't look at your best at all. Did you know before the match that it would be tough for you to hang in there?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I know how high I feel physically, but I think I lost the match because Andy was holding all the time my ball during the first two sets, and he took the little chance to win both sets. Then in the third was really hard to me mentally after that first two sets, you know.

But anyways, I think I did a good tournament. I did a good clay season after what's happens with my grandfather, and I'm looking forward to playing good in the grass.

Q. In English, even though I am Spanish, it's nice to see you here after three years without being able to play. You're healthy, wealthy, of course, but the match, I think that moment with the double fault, it was a few points?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, what I said, the first two sets were really tight, and it was only few points for Andy, and he won the both sets.

But I felt playing so good for the two hours and a half, and then I was enjoying the match. The crowd was enjoying the match, too. And I think we made a great show for them. But in the end, Andy plays better in the particular moments, and he won.

Q. Can you just tell us when the trainer and the doctor came on, he gave you some pills. Was that anti-inflammatory drugs because of your groin problem?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, yes, that's for that, but I played free of pain. So I move much better than the other day. And Andy make me run a lot today, yeah.

Q. When you were a break up in the first set, I think 4-2, you got very frustrated at one stage. I wondered whether it was because you weren't further ahead than you thought you should be, or what exactly was going on in your head?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, because I know when you play against these guys, and you're playing much better than them, you must take the opportunities. And I was break up during almost the first set, and I had other chances to break his serves. Sometimes I made mistake with my backhand. That's what I felt frustration.

But I know when you play these guys you must be focused for a whole match. And sometimes you need more than one chances to win a set.

Q. How do you enjoy big support from the French public? Are you surprised by this support?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I love what happens today on court. I so happy to see the crowd cheering for me at this level. I miss a lot this tournament for the last five years, so I go home with great memories from the people, from the friends, fans, you know, and also the Argentinian fans which were there.

Hopefully next year I can be in better shape, in better, with a better level of tennis, and I stay a few more days (smiling).

Q. You played those two great matches against him last year. How do you feel his level today compared to that? Do you feel he's playing a similar level to what he was last year?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, to be a different surface, I think we play another good battle. Basically the first two sets was two hours and a half, really long sets. And Andy, he's very smart on court, you know. That's why he has all the shots to play but also a great mentally. That's why he's the No. 1 of the world at the moment, and I know how important is this tournament for him. I wish all the best and hopefully can be, can go far.

Q. Before the match, Andy told us that you have been getting some difficult draws this season. I guess for you, how easy or hard is it to accept that it will take a while until your ranking is where you want it to be and you might keep getting these draws?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, yeah, I'm not having lucky with the draws, but if I want to change that, I need to improve my ranking, is the only solutions to get better draws.

But this could take more time at least if I'm playing good tennis. Also, last year I made finals at the Olympics. Then I won the Davis Cup, and I don't get any points for that. But I need to play better on the ATP Tour, trying to get more points and keep going up in the ranking.

Q. Is that bothering you when the crowd goes (gasping) when you do your forehand?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I like, I like, I like a lot. I think they scare a little bit.

Q. And how do you explain your worldwide popularity? You're not only very popular here in France, like also my home country, Germany, if we put a text about you on line, it goes, like, everybody seem to love you, and it's not only your spectacular game. You seem to be this cool, cool guy, great sportsman, obviously. How do you explain it? Are you just yourself, or...
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I just try to be myself all the time. I think all the people like my story, you know. I have been out for a long time. I'm trying to fix my wrist problem, and I never give up from that problems. Of course, everybody knows how my backhand is, if you compare with the old Del Potro. I'm running a lot during the whole matches.

And I think that's what the people like from me. I try just to be myself. I like to be cool on tour, as well (smiling). But that's me.

Q. You will start your grass court season in Holland? Can you explain your choice for the tournament in Rosmalen?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, because I think my game could be strong on that surface, and I would like to play three tournaments, because I don't play too much on clay. Could be a good tournament for the preparation for Wimbledon, too.

Q. Back to the match, the last point of the first set, line call, were you okay with that?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, yeah. The ball was out. Yeah (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. First set was decisive. What happened after?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Sometimes I felt I was going to make it in the first set, and then again in the second set I really felt I could do it. Especially I thought I could win mentally.

I had great opportunities in the first two sets. The first two sets, I would say both were very decisive.

I felt I was playing well. I could feel I was hurting him mentally. But it still was extremely complicated, because he was starting to return the balls better. My service was not hurting him as much anymore later into the game.

He was a real No. 1.

Q. You mentioned frustration. Your season has been complicated. You have gone through different difficulties. Maybe, had you been in slightly better condition, maybe you could have won? And you will win matches like this in the future?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes. When you play the best players, they give you very, very few occasions, opportunities. When they do, you can't make a double fault like I did today.

There was this other point. I had a set point. And I was going to win the set, right? Instead of being aggressive, I didn't really do much. At that point, he won. See? That's what happened.

But beyond my tennis and so on, I need to improve my backhand. Andy is one of the smartest guys on the circuit, and he knew what my weak point was.

Today, on clay, if I had been in slightly better conditions and with a better backhand, it would have been more difficult for him. So these two points did not help me.

Q. You mentioned your weak point, your weakness. Don't you think that maybe, at one point, you were too far from the line and you sliced too much? Because you moved very well. You were running a lot.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: That's because he played very smartly. I knew that if I stayed behind the baseline, he can only do so much. So that's why he kept forcing me to move, to move away from the baseline.

And then he forced me to play backhand first, and then he sliced me. Sometimes the balls, his balls, would then go crosscourt diagonally, and only very, very few smart players can do that.

So he really used my weakness at that point. That was his strategy, very clearly.

Q. You don't give up, but then after the second set you started the third set, you missed opportunities. Don't you think that you could have gone further into the match and make it a five-set match? Didn't you think at that point that maybe you should have completely changed your game? The public was there to support you to go further into the match.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: That's several questions. First of all, I had the public. I had a lot of support. That's not always the case.

Even when you're tired, even when you've missed some opportunities, of course you would like that experience to continue. It took me five years, three surgeries in my wrist to come back, five years to come back and live these exceptional moments once again.

So it was very emotional. So I should have played better in the first two sets, but again, thanks to the public, I think I was able to do a lot.

Q. The slice on clay is one thing. On grass, it's another thing. It's easier to manage it, isn't it? You can hurt your opponents really when you're on grass, right?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I hope that my slice will work better on grass going forward. Again, when he was doing dropshots and slices, it's different. It's different on clay versus grass.

And if I want to hurt my opponent, I need, at that point, to use my two-handed backhand. I'm getting better at it, but I'm still finding -- you know, I can't go faster in terms of improvement. My wrist is getting there. But he knew very well what my weak points were.

Q. Last year you had to defeat the top four players. This year you played the top five players. Would you say there was more pressure this year or last year?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I feel no pressure. I think I lost three times against Djokovic. Federer defeated me in Miami. Today I lost against Andy. I could have won these sets, but I lost them.

So every single time we play these top players, it's very difficult. These guys are the best players out there, but I think I have the best statistics against, you know, top-seeded players, which is not easy.

But the fact is that they are the best players in the world. That's why they end up winning most of the time.

But anyway, if I keep playing like I'm playing now, I'm in pretty good shape. Again, I would like to be able to beat them, which I have done it a few times.

Q. So what's next? How would you consider your current level as a player after you have won two matches?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think it's good. It's a good level. I have played very well. My forehand is very good. When my serves are good they are very strong.

I have made improvements in other areas, as well. Therefore, I think that given all the difficulties I went through, I think it's pretty positive. I'm pretty confident.

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