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May 29, 2018

Juan Martin Del Potro

Paris, France


1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Your thought on that victory?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I'm glad to win a match in this Grand Slam. I think this is what the most important thing of the day, because I didn't play my best tennis basically at the beginning of the match, but then I felt a little better. And I'm looking forward to playing better in the next round.

Q. And there was a very warm exchange between yourself and Nico at the end of the match. Lots of mutual respect. What did you say to each other?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, he's doing a great career as a singles player, as a doubles player. And I won't tell you what we speak at the net, because I want him to let you guys know what we talk.

But it was a nice match, and he's a nice guy on tour, as well. So I wish the best for him.

Q. You have spoken about this before, but just tell us how hard is it to keep coming back from injuries, and not just coming back but competing at the top level? What does it take physically and emotionally?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, it's not easy. You must doing efforts every day. You have to sacrifice all your body doing what you like. And also, you have to be very careful with your decisions, as well, and also, you have to make like a good team with your coaches, physical trainers, physiotherapists.

And all together we are doing well after my last injury on the wrist, and we were happy for that, and we still alive. You know, I'm healthy. I could be better in the future, and that's important.

Q. Tell us about the routine after each match, because I understand you have treatment before and after each match to make sure you feel physically fit.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I do everything, like ice bath, massage, little bike, stretching. Sometimes I do yoga before sleep or when I wake up, and these kind of things help me a little bit to be like this, and to get strong enough to support the tennis matches.

Q. And you're in good form so far in 2018. What are your hopes and expectations for Roland Garros?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, as everybody knows, is not my favorite surface, on clay, but I'm glad to be part of this tournament again. I'm looking forward to keep winning, and then we will see if I can go far in this tournament.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. What changed so abruptly from the first to the second set?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I think it was the break, and in a very short time I was leading 3-2. And the speed of the first two sets was very important to not remain stuck, because I had a lot of doubts in the beginning, and luckily I got over that. I felt much more comfortable on the clay surface and in the game.

I think that my opponent also started getting tired, and once I took over control of the match, I felt much better on the court.

Q. How are you? You told us about the injury and the recovery, which is fantastic.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, well, thanks to the very good professionals that's around me, I was able to play. You told me, I think, that my recovery was miraculous, and sometimes we think that if this is miraculous, what would you qualify my return to tennis, then? And that I may have won all the matches I did win? And that's why I said that it was a drop from grade 1, which gives you an idea of what I'm doing now.

Now I'm playing, I finished well today. Tomorrow I have another day to continue. And I'll see what conditions I'm in to play, and I will continue on the court.

Q. In one of your answers you said that you had doubts at the beginning. Why was this? Was it because of your tennis or because you were thinking about your injury?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I think it all had to do with my game. And in the beginning, his way of playing, which is less of a clay surface type of game and much more aggressive. But on the second set I was able to recover and gain control of the match, and I started serving better and serving on the line, on the T, and that way I was able to gain speed.

Q. How long was your recovery? And how many days were you able to train?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I finished the match on Thursday in Rome, and I had four days to rest, and I started -- we continued training elsewhere, and things improved, which showed that my recovery was true and I can be back here in Europe. Then I continued training and working and doing physical exercises and workouts.

Now, the tennis game is my own problem, but I think that the doctor gave me some ten days, we respected this pause of ten days, and now I'm back.

Q. Novak mentioned your example about recovering and coming back to tennis. I think this is an inspiring example.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, the fact that he is saying so and given my life experience, if it can help him, I'm very happy, because he's a good friend on the circuit. And I hope that he will continue to manage and be in the position he should be. I can understand his frustration, because I went through it for a long time, and not that many people know what it's like.

When he loses and when they always ask him from one tournament to the other if he's better, if he's going to be able to play or not, I can imagine what this does to him. It's really very painful.

But if something can help people to have success stories, I think that he is definitely one of the people who can tell a success story, and I'm sure in a very short time he'll start lining up good wins.

Q. You're one of the favorite players of the public. I'd like to know how you feel about this and how you use it in your matches.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I try and do my job and enjoy the public and return all of the affection that they express. Today I played with a local, and there was a lot of respect shown for me, and there was a very nice atmosphere on the court, which is fun, because you can start thinking about other things that are not related to tennis, and they are very pleasant.

There are a lot of players who are very loved, and it's very nice to receive all this affection from the public.

Q. Your recovery is extraordinary, but sometime the communication is not very fluent. So when I asked my question, it wasn't sarcastic. There were seven Argentinians who won the first round. If Leo wins, you may be able to clash with him. I think he had a first good match. How would you imagine this match in a couple of days?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I gave out a press release that was very clear on my injury. There were no doubts on my injury. I said everything I had to say. I said everything I had to say. I explained my condition. They asked me how I felt. They were able to see me. And the fact that I'm running a few days after is part of my recovery, and the fact that this grade 1 injury is recovering, that's all I can say.

And the fact that out of seven, seven have won, that means that we are moving ahead and we are progressing.

Now, if I play against an Argentinian, it might be a very special match. I'm very happy for him, because that means that he's progressing. I hope that all the others will be able to seize their opportunities and do a great tournament here.

Q. The greeting you received was very friendly at the end of the match.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, well, I must say that I was a bit surprised as I was explaining to a journalist earlier. I think that very soon you will know what we said when we were at the net, but it's not for me to tell you. I prefer him to tell you because of his career, and I think he deserves to be able to tell you.

Q. (Off microphone.)
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no, no, not really. No, I think he's also playing doubles.

But I suppose that sooner or later you'll know, and not through me.

Q. You don't like to consider yourself as a favorite in the tournament, but before people said that in this championship or in others Rafael Nadal and Federer, there was Djokovic, Murray is no longer here, Wawrinka isn't here, and it seems that there are few players that are going to put Rafa in a different position. Do you think that you can get very far on the draw this time, in this championship?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No. I don't feel like I'd be one of the players who can challenge Rafa today, on Tuesday. If I had to select some names, I would say Thiem or Zverev or some surprise that comes up, but today, I don't feel that I'm part of any of those players, and because of the surface we're playing on, because there are a few of us who can really challenge Rafa.

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