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May 6, 2018

Juan Martin Del Potro

Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. After Indian Wells and Miami, you needed a rest. You said you were not really sure when you were going to play, whether you were going to play on clay. How did the past few weeks go for you? Why did you end up deciding to come here?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, the last weeks were great to me. I been at home for a while, spending good time with friends, family. Also training to be ready for these tournaments. We decide to came here maybe couple of weeks ago when I got good feelings on the clay court.

I'm still thinking it's a good opportunity to me to keep growing up in the ranking maybe and keep doing well. But I know how tough is this tournament for me. But anyways, I'm happy to be back on Madrid after a long time.

Q. How did you make the decision to come on clay? What is the most difficult thing for you? It's more you're afraid physically it's going to be too tough, too risky for you to play? What was the reasoning if you were going to play or not?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It depends my feelings. Physically you must be 100% all the time. Playing on clay, you have to hit harder the ball to win the point. Maybe you have to play more than two, three hours a match. It's not easy for my game or for my body, too, after all my injuries to play on clay.

But I'm exciting to see how good I am in this tournaments. Anyways, what I said before, it's a good chance to keep doing well. Everything can happens in this tournament. I had a great results in the past playing Madrid. I'm very positive to get the same results on this year.

Q. How tough was it for you, or was it tough for you to say after Miami, after you had such a great run of form, Okay, I will take a couple weeks to stay away from the tour?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It wasn't tough. I like to have a week off on my life. I enjoying a lot spending time at home, celebrating my titles, having great time with friends, going out a little bit. I had a great time in Buenos Aires, in Tandil, as well.

Now I think it's time to focus on tennis again. I did a good preparation for this tournaments. I'm looking forward to stay healthy until Paris, and then I will change to grass courts, which is better for my game.

Q. I don't know if you know this, but your record on clay, winning record, is the seventh highest amongst active players. Does that surprise you?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, a little bit. Well, I start to play tennis on clay court, so I know how the game is. But I'm getting older, too (smiling).

Anyways, I like to play Madrid. Here the conditions for play are good. We have altitude. The ball go fast. The server players has chance to win here because these conditions. So it could be a good opportunity to me.

Q. When you were away, Rafa kind of won everything on clay. Have you watched any of the tournaments with Rafa playing? What do you think of him still being the King of Clay?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, he's still being the King of Clay. The Rafa matches was too early in Argentina, so I couldn't watch. But I expect to Rafa win these tournaments, and this tournament as well. Rome and Paris, of course.

But we are here trying to beat him and to doing well. If Rafa keeps winning, I think it's normal. But if we do good results playing against him, could be a surprise.

We are looking forward to surprise him.

Q. You're also playing doubles with Dominic here this week. What made you decide to play doubles? What made you decide to play with him? How well do you know him?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, he's a nice guy. We have a good relationship. For us, it's a good chance to play doubles before our singles. We never played together, so we will see tomorrow what's happens.

But I think is going to be fun for us. We will try to play good doubles.

Q. When there's someone like Rafa on clay, who keeps winning all the tournaments almost, is there a sense of frustration? Is there more motivation when you enter a clay tournament? Do you think more like you probably have to beat Rafa if you want to win this title?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes. But first you have to win a lot of matches before a Rafa match. But Rafa or Roger are the favorites in all tournaments. We already know how it works. When we move to grass, Roger will be the favorite to win all the tournaments on grass. We already know that.

I think Rafa is playing so good, but other guys has chance to beat him. We already made in the past, so we can repeat this year. But, of course, Rafa has everything to keep winning. We just do what we can against him.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. What do you think about the Davis Cup? They changed the format of Davis Cup. How do you see the Davis Cup? The proposed changes they're going to do in Davis Cup, the new format?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, you know, I talked about this a few times already. I still think it's not defined. There are some ideas around it. They just want to change the format in order to approve them. I think they are still holding some meetings and discussions. They're seeing the viewpoints of everyone. We will see if there's a change.

Hopefully it will be the best thing for the future players that are going to be playing that new format of Davis Cup. But I think that people are working on it and they're going to make improvements so that the people that have to play under that format are happy and do well in those kind of tournaments.

Q. This week something extraordinary happened in the Argentinian national team. I wanted to know, are you planning on meeting with Calleri?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I know there is a new president called Augustin. From my point of view, hopefully they will do really good. They will be better off. Hopefully they will be able to meet all the promises that they have made, they will be able to meet all of their goals. If that happens, I think that's going to be something very positive for Argentinian tennis.

Possibly they will do really well, and tennis will be something bigger in Argentina. We will make tennis in Argentina even bigger. Hopefully I will meet with him and we will talk about Argentinian tennis.

Q. We all know the situation that Djokovic is injured right now. I wanted to ask your opinion. What do you think about Djokovic? Do you think it's difficult to be up in the top 10, stay in the top 10? How would you face a situation like playing Djokovic?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I also had to face that situation because I also had a couple of injuries in the past. It's not easy. It's not something nice to suffer. It's not nice to see that you're falling down in the rankings, that you're not feeling as good as you're used to feeling, because he's always been really fit.

I think there are few players that can come back from injuries and be so good, be up in the rankings where they deserve to be. I think that Djokovic is one of those players. Also Murray did it, Wawrinka. There are not many more players that are capable of coming back from injury. I think that's what's going to happen.

For me personally, I would like to see Djokovic come back in the place where he should be. Hopefully he'll be able to do that because I really like him, I really support him. I think it will not only be good for him but it will be good for the tennis world so that we can see again another great player, so we can see him fighting up there for Grand Slams, fighting for the No. 1 with all the top players.

We have great players. That will make the tennis even more entertaining.

Q. You started really well this season, winning in Indian Wells. How are you going to face this tournament here in Madrid?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Good. I'm happy, as I say, to be able to come back to Madrid after a few years. The tournament each year is improving. It's better. I have a really nice time here when I come to Madrid. It's a really tough tournament with really good players, especially one player which is above all of the others. I'm talking about Rafa.

Well, yeah, I'm happy. I want to do great. I'm trying to get through the first rounds. It's going to be a tough clay tournament. I think that maybe at the beginning it's going to be a little bit difficult for me, but I also think it's going to be something positive looking towards Roland Garros.

Q. It's going to be your first clay tournament in a long time. I want to know what are your feelings here on the clay? How are you feeling?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, good. Here on clay you have to train a little bit more to be able to feel the court, feel the ball. The rallies are also a little bit longer on this kind of surface. You have to practice a lot here. It's different compared to other surfaces.

But, well, I'm doing good. I'm happy I'm able to play here in Madrid. I've always had a nice time here in Madrid in the past whenever I played here. So hopefully I will have a good result. If not, I'm happy. I'm very happy with the season that I have been having. Hopefully I will continue with this positive attitude I have right now.

Q. Talking again about Rafa. Do you think Madrid is the tournament where Rafa is more vulnerable?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no. I don't think so. I think that we're playing on clay, so that makes Rafa the favorite player here. He's playing here in his home country. He has also many things that are going to motivate him and make him even stronger inside the court.

As I just said, I think that today there is a player which is above all of the others, especially in this clay season, and that player is Rafa.

Well, today, at least personally, I will try to make a good result so it's good for my clay season. I will try to fight him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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