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June 1, 2017

Juan Martin Del Potro

Paris, France

J. DEL POTRO/N. Almagro

6-3, 3-6, 1-1 [Ret.]

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. It was really moving at the end. How do you feel to watch Nicolas lying on the court?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I don't feel good enough after this sadness situation. I wish a good recovery to Nico. Hopefully he can feel better very, very soon, because he's a great player and we love to have him on tour.

And of course it's not easy for me when you have a friend in the other side of the court showing an injury or crying. It was really a bad moment for both, but I wish all the best to him.

Q. How difficult is it when you're competing against someone to switch off that mode and to go over and comfort them and just be a friend? Is it something that's always sort of present in the match? Is it something you have to do to change your mindset? Obviously the competition ended very quickly.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: You can feel an extra pression when you see your opponent with a down level.

Today I think I got lucky, because I don't feel good enough with my body, and then Nico felt something wrong in his knee and he decide to retire.

Anyways, we would like to be 100% all matches. But sometimes this happen. And what I said before, I hope he's feeling better. I know how sad could feel him after an injury, because I had a lot. But I wish all the best to him.

Q. It looked like you were having trouble with maybe groin or right thigh problem. How much difficulty were you having with that? Were you maybe worried that you might have to stop playing today?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I felt something in my groin in the middle of the first set. And then I won that set and then tried to take time for the anti-inflammatories goes into effect on my body.

But then in the third set, I hold my serve in the first game, and then he's starting to feel a problem in his knee. Well, that's -- the end of the match was really bad for me, too. I didn't expect this descent of the match.

Q. Do you already know what it might be specifically for you with your right leg and how quickly you'll be able to recover? Because you've got potentially a big match coming up on Saturday.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I don't know. But I know I have one day and a half to feel better. It's an old problem for me, so my physio knows how to treat that.

But I will see. Hopefully I can be in good shape, because I would like to play 100% in the third round, and I'm feeling good with my game at this moment, but I need to be in good shape, as well.

Q. What did you say to Nicolas? When someone is in so much pain sometimes it's hard to know what to say.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I tried to, I don't know, tried to find a good words for that moment. I say to him, Try to be calm. Try to think about his family, his baby. And sometimes the heart is first than the tennis match or the tennis life. And I think he has everything to fix this problem and come back on tour stronger.

Q. You may play Andy Murray in the next round if he wins today. What do you remember of your two great matches against him last year, in particular? What do you remember of them? And do you think on clay here is that advantage to you or advantage to him?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, we play great battles last year, one each. After tomorrow could be another great battle if I feel good. Andy is one of the favorites to win this tournament. And now I know his game a lot, but I need to be in good shape and physically be stronger to hold a long match if we play a long match, long rallies.

I'm happy with my level at this moment, so my forehands and serves are working good. But anyways, I need all my body in good shape.

Q. Showing that kind of kindness to an opponent, does that feel normal to you, or do you understand people coming across the net, comfort your adversaries being remarkable?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I did that because I felt. I never do anything because the people. I just do what my heart feels, you know.

Q. How long have you known Almagro? And how close are you away from the courts?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: We know each other since many years. I think we play juniors tournaments together, as well. And I have the confidence to cross over the net and stay beside him, yeah.

Q. Your coaching situation. You were working with your Davis Cup captain earlier this year; is that right?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, just for a few tournaments. But now I'm still alone, trying to find a good coach for the future.

Q. Is it right that you asked Gustavo Kuerten and Pete Sampras?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: And many others, too (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. Very often you are congratulated on your victories. I would like to congratulate you on your human side. I think that you behaved like a gentleman because you suffered some injuries, as well. So it was a show of solidarity. Hats off to you for your empathy. Regarding pain, what did you feel when you felt that you had a painful leg?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It's an unpleasant feeling. You have a player who is suffering quite a lot. He was in agony. It was tough. I told him that tennis is important, but health matters more than tennis in this case, because I want him to be out of his bad patch.

I hope that he will recover very quickly. It happened to me when I was at 3-1 or 4-2. I can't remember. I had to hit the ball with my backhand, and I was wrong-footed, and I felt pain on the groin and I lost part of my mobility. I won the set very quickly.

In the second set, had to call the doctor so that I could get some anti-inflammatories, and I hoped that the anti-inflammatories could be efficient. All of a sudden, he suffered pain on his knee. So he was injured. So I will talk with my physio in order to care for my leg.

Q. During the match, after the incident, before his, did you think that it would be difficult?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes. I felt some pain. I thought that Almagro was doing well, but I lost a little bit of mobility. I didn't move well. So I had to hit with my forehand, but it was quite tough, because I couldn't move very well on court.

So that's regrettable, because your opponent is also in pain. He's also suffering. I don't like to win this way, but I need to recover, as well, and I need to rest. And in the first set I played well, so it was a little bit unpleasant.

Q. Indeed you felt great with your backhand and forehand?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, my backhand was quite solid. And all of a sudden, I was hampered. I played well. I was aggressive. My serve was efficient. And when you don't move well when there is a lack of intensity, your game can't be consistent any longer.

But I will have a practice session tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, so I hope that I will be able to deliver intensive shots.

Q. You might be worried about your thigh. What about the pain? Is it acute or not?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I will have two days in order to rest and recover. It's not new. Last year I had some problems with my groin. It's not a source of concern. This is something that I have experienced already.

Q. Why are you motivated? What are your objectives?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I have answered that question already. I would like to be surprised by what might happen. I don't have any specific objectives, and I want to be surprised. I have advanced to the third round. Clay is not an easy surface for me. I contended with some difficult situations, family problems.

If I were to set an objective before the tournament, the objective would have been too high or too low. So I didn't want to set myself some goals and objectives.

Q. You had many injuries in the past. What did you tell Nico when you came close to him?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Of course I'm very familiar with injuries. I know what injuries are all about. Something I don't wish on anyone. So it was sad. I was sad, as well.

But this is tennis. This is the situation. You have to face and cope with these injuries. He has a wonderful family. There are lots of other things in life. His tennis is great, so once he's recovered, he will be able to play good tennis.

Q. After five years, have you noticed something about the clay surface? At times players slide better. So what is the impact?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I can't remember. I haven't been here for the past five years. But most players have said that conditions are faster. When rallies from the baseline are long, the pace is slower, the speed is slower. And the players with a big serve, I mean, they don't have any problems.

Q. Murray might be your next opponent. You played tough matches. And you haven't given an answer in English. Who is better on clay? You or Andy?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Last year we waged fiercely contested battles. So this takes a high. I will have to fight against him, but we are on par. We prefer another surface to clay.

I won't be the favorite, but when you are playing against these great champions, it's an opportunity to enjoy the moment and play well. I hope that the crowd will enjoy that match, and I hope that I will be up to the task whoever the opponent.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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