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May 30, 2019

Juan Martin Del Potro

Paris, France

J. DEL POTRO/Y. Nishioka

5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. It must be really tough match, and your opponent, Nishioka, he might be a tricky one, because he's short, but he plays a little bit different from other players. He's lefty. So could you describe what kind of opponent he is?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, he's a tough one, for sure. He has fantastic physical conditions. He's very, very fast and very solid from the baseline.

His backhands, forehands are pretty good. And it was a tough match, for sure. We play four hours, I think. Long rallies, long points. We made a great match, both, and in the end I think I play a little bit better than him, and that's was the key of the match.

Q. How is your knee? How much does it bother you during the match?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Oh, it's okay. It's okay. I lost my balance at the beginning of the match, and then I felt pain in my hip and the knee, also.

And, you know, it's not easy to deal these kind of pains after all my old injury, but I manage well during the game, and now I have a day off to recovery and see how I feel.

Q. He's a short guy, as short as Schwartzman. Did you find some difference between Schwartzman and Nishioka? They are different or same?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Diego and Nishioka? Are they the same size or...

Q. Same height, same weight.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Really? (Smiling).

I don't know. They are good players, for sure. I love Diego a lot. I love his game. And Nishioka also is a very talent player and very smart on court, and they are very, very good players.

Q. I would like to ask on your act, after the match, you know, this bend, was it a plan?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no, no. I played a Japanese player, and I saw all the Japanese people doing like that and it was, like, respect for him.

It was great (smiling).

Q. Because it was very kind. It's, like, you're a role model for young players and tennis fans and so on. What's it mean for you to be a role model for so many players and people?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I try to be an example for the kids, on court, off court, as well. And these kind of moments could help to the youngest players, to know how the sport is, you know, the sportsmanship, also.

And I did because I felt to do that. And after four hours playing great tennis for both sides, we closed battle in a very good way, and the people love that, too.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. I wanted to ask you what happened in the point at the end of the sixth game with your foot. You were...
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: As you saw, I slid and I lost my balance, and I hurt my hip, and this also resounded in my knee. I felt a weird feeling, which worried me, rather. And after all I have gone through, my feelings in my knee, I had to be careful and fight mentally during those games to make the best decision and decide what I had to do to play correctly.

It was costing me to move and to play, but if you're strong mentally, the passion, the desire to play and to compete is what takes over. And that's how I won.

Q. Where do you find this mental strength, which is impressive? And what are your fears about hurting yourself again?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, this mental strength is something I build outside the court also when I'm nice and quiet. But when you're on the court, you're pressed. You can't manage it so well. You're in the middle of a match.

But I tried to find the time to realize what was important for my health and to understand my confidence and the lack of confidence that came from hurting myself.

But this preparation helped me on the court to decide when to run, when to do something else, and I believe I did this well until the end. I'm very happy as I survived this great match, which was a real fight with very long points, huge balls, difficult to strike winning shots, but I'm happy I won.

Q. As you were just asked, you congratulated the other player. You went to the other side of the net. You saluted him in the Japanese way. It seems you had fought a lot with him.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, he's left-handed, so when he returns, it's very difficult. I have a better backhand than I used to have, but I have this deficit of mobility and he had me running to the right, and that was costing me a little more. The fact that he's left-handed with these angles, it's a bit more difficult.

As I said recently, the balls become larger when you play in the evening. The sun is different. You have to play a lot of shots to get one point, and he was extremely solid and running and running and running.

Q. Excuse my Spanish. I don't speak much Spanish. There was no woman Argentinian player here in the French Open. How can you explain that? Do you think that women are suffering more from the economic difficulties that Argentina is going through?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, obviously it would be great to have women from Argentina in the draw and for them to be able to play. I'm sure they make a lot of efforts to try and be here, and it's difficult for them.

But I guess that some young players are now developing, progressing. Obviously the economic situation is not easy for Argentinians. We haven't got the same conditions as you have in the French or American tennis, for example. Things are a bit more complicated.

Argentinians have something else. We have passion and the desire to overcome the situation, and I hope that soon there will be Argentinian women playing.

Q. In the tiebreak of the fourth set, you got upset.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, I believe I was upset all the time. Yes, I was playing this tiebreak rather well, and it was costing me to admit that I had lost it. He hit the net, and I lost a key point. You hit and hit and hit, and then I took the wrong decision with the dropshot.

And another player wouldn't have been as comfortable with that as another, and so this is frustrating for anyone. So I felt frustrated.

But I was able to revert that mindset and to play the rest of the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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