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October 11, 2009

Juan Martin Del Potro


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us what it was like after the US Open when you went home to Argentina?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It was an unbelievable moment coming back to Argentina, hometown and see my parents, family, friends and all my city, walking around the street with me.
It was like a dream, you know. It was very heartened moment, very strong, but for sure I will never forget that moment.

Q. Was there a big party, a big celebration in Tandil?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah. Not too much, but I been with my parents, friends, and I tried to relax a little bit, tried to see all the persons who I wanted.
Of course, I would like to keep enjoying the moment, my season, my career.

Q. Was there a parade in the streets, or were you presented to the crowd?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, some guys works with me, and they are saying what happen with my life, my victories, and everything, during my career.
Then when I start to speak to them, I felt the nervous, like New York, because it was all my city listen to me, you know. That strong for me, be alone in the crowd and I speak to everyone.

Q. Was that in the big square in the middle of the city?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, like a president. (laughter.)

Q. Last year you were the youngest Masters here in Shanghai. This year you came back as American Open champion. Any different feelings?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: A lot, yeah. (laughter.)

Q. Tell us.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, now I'm No. 5 in the world. Now I'm playing better. I have a Grand Slam in my career, and for sure my present is different than last year.
Now I have to work hard to be better, better player on all surface, try to keep winning tournaments, keep beating good players like Federer, Nadal, or many players. That's what I have to do, now and in the future.

Q. How important is it for you to start off well here, especially in light of things didn't go that well for you in Tokyo and it was your first match back after the US Open?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I feel very good. The people here in China and Japan are so lovely, and they are very friendly and they love tennis. I have a lot of friends here, and I want to play my best tennis, try to be until final day and enjoy with them.
It's very good be like a star, a little star, because the biggest stars is our Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray.

Q. Now that you've had a few weeks since US Open, have you had different thoughts about the tournament? Do you see it in a different way than just when you won it and everything? Has it all settled in?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no, I don't think so. I just -- maybe I be better because I won a Grand Slam, but I'm the same person, the same player. I do the same things every day. I never change my things because the Grand Slam.
I know my way to work hard, to be better player, and of course I feel the matches, the season, I'm tired but I will try to win here, to win next tournament, and then I will have a good vacation.

Q. During the US Open, you kept saying that you think you needed to be stronger or be better to compete with Federer, Nadal. What exactly do you need to do? Obviously you won, but what are you looking to improve?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I need the experience in that situations and I have to play like at US Open all tournaments in the year, not just one.
And I think that's just the biggest difference between them and me. But if I work hard, if I still doing my work, maybe in the future I can be like them.

Q. If you do well here, you can start pushing even further up the rankings. Have you changed your idea of where you can be at the end of this year or where you want to be?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no. I just want to play this tournament, the Masters Cup, and then I want to be at home or vacation, because I really need it.
But if I come, finish the year maybe 4, 3, or I don't know the ranking, could be better, but if I finish 6, 5, anyway, would be a good season.

Q. One more question about what happened in Tandil when you went home. Were your parents and family watching on a big screen or all together or anything like that?

Q. Yeah, in US Open.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, they were all together at home in the big screen. And also, in my first club, all the little players watching my match, my coaches, and was like, I don't know, like a soccer team or -- it was different, because in tennis never happen that, but I have to say thanks to follow me.

Q. You said you feel you need a holiday at the end of the year. Do you feel, after the US Open, do you feel more emotionally tired than physically? Was it a very big thing for you mentally, emotionally?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, mentally, physically, everything. I need experience to be better at this time. Maybe Roger, Rafa knows much than me after winning Grand Slam, but if I don't have experience, I could feel better. I just want to play here, try to do my best. If I win, better; if I lose, I go home, trying to relax again, trying to practice again. And when I finish the season, I need the vacation to be in good shape for next year.

Q. You said you are not necessarily too concerned thinking about your ranking, but with Murray not here, you, by the end of this tournament, you could be quite close to Murray at No. 4. Is that a thought...
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Djokovic is No. 4?

Q. But Murray will... Is that a target, for example, for Australia to go to Australia as No. 4?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah. Yeah, it's a good idea, but I don't know why -- I don't think too much in the ranking. I just want to improve my game, trying to beat them, because if I beat them in every tournaments, I will be better.
But, anyway, I have a good season. I hope the best for this, finish tournament.

Q. I just wondered, what is more difficult? To win four tournaments in a row or to win a Grand Slam?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: What do you think?

Q. I think to win a Grand Slam.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah. You're right. (laughter.)

Q. (In Chinese.) I have a question. After you get the Grand Slam, did you feel that you already a big star like Nadal and Federer?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, maybe in Argentina (laughter.) But I have to win more Grand Slam to be similar to Rafa or Djokovic, maybe Roger. They are biggest players. They are the superstars in this moment.

Q. (In Chinese) I also have a question. This morning Argentina team went to the World Cup. Palermo, your idol, had the ball. Could you tell me a little bit about this match this morning for Argentina team in the World Cup?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It was a very tough match. My friend Palermo did the last goal. I'm so happy for him and for the country, also. But we need to win one more matches to qualify for World Cup, and will be very tough against Uruguay, but we have chance to do it.

Q. It's a long trip through Asia. What was the strangest thing that happened to you like on this trip in this country?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Far away. (laughter.)
But I been here -- I been here, I been in Tokyo. Well, maybe the culture are different, but the people are lovely, and maybe in every corner a lot of people trying to cross the street, and that's very unusual for me.
But otherwise the city, the restaurant, the hotels are perfect. We are enjoying it this week.

Q. What's your favorite Chinese dish, food?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I always eat Italian, Italian food.

Q. Everywhere?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: But I like -- I will try to eat China's food. But not before the match.

Q. If you just look ahead to your second-round match, it will be either Chardy or Jurgen Melzer, I think, just if you can talk about that.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, it will be a good match. Melzer has a good style. I play many, many times with him, and all matches are difficult.
And Chardy has a good potential, good serve. Maybe in this surface he going to improve a little bit, so I have to do my tennis and try to be focusing every point and trying to take my opportunities.

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