The Argentinian Juan Martín del Potro spoke to the media today about his fitness coming into the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open. In addition, he had a few words of thanks for David Ferrer, who is retiring at the Madrid tournament.
His knee injury: “I’m progressing every day. Coming to this tournament is one more step for me in my rehabilitation and my final recovery to feeling completely fit again and completely healing the knee injury. I think that I’m feeling better every day and I’m starting to train with the best players, which gives me my rhythm and gets me playing my best tennis. And although I need time to adapt to that rhythm, I think this is a good time for me to start to do that and that’s why I’m here”.
His liking of Madrid: “I’ve always liked playing in Madrid, luckily I’ve had good results and I like the conditions. The tournament is spectacular, the affection you get from the people in this city is really nice. It’s one of the best tournaments in the world, where we feel comfortable, because of the city, the food… All of this makes it a very classy tournament”.
Return to competition: “To me, playing doubles is important to test myself, to move and to start to get a feeling for playing in an official match and not just training. If I feel as we expect after the doubles and nothing strange happens, I’m sure I’ll want to play the singles match. That’s what I’m hoping, but I have to take it day by day and hope. I’m not in any rush to start playing and to return to the tour, but my return is getting closer and closer… So it will be a few days or more yet, but I am really looking forward to doing it”.
The emotional side of injuries: “Emotionally speaking, I found some feelings that were similar to previous years, above all in the months when the days were a bit grey. When I had just returned from the injury it was frustrating because I was getting far and playing big games, and it was more the disappointment of having to stop for an injury. But we didn’t think it was something that was going to take a long time. The doctors thought I would recover very quickly. That didn’t happen. Everything got much longer. The injury started to get more serious than they thought, and time just kept going by… I made a lot of sacrifices to be able to come back and put up with pain, as I do now. That’s when, at times when I wasn’t feeling so strong or positive, I remembered previous years and started to feel similar things. But to me, being here is where I am at my best and my most positive. I think that looking forward, with the experience I have, if I have to recover again I will do it with all the positivity in the world”.
Favourites for the tournament: “I’m definitely not favourite [laughs]. Obviously Rafa and Dominic are playing very well, and on clay Thiem is one of the only players that can beat Rafa too. But Roger is back playing in this tournament and the conditions are good for him, it’s a perfect court for his game. Then, this tournament has always had big upsets from powerful players with a big serve and there are a lot of those on tour as well. The favourites are always the same and Novak, as he’s the number one and because of what he represents, would also have to be on that list”.
Ferrer: “One of this sport’s great players is retiring and one of the best people the tour has had, and that I have spent time with over these years. I’m very happy to see him retiring playing well, in front of his people, in front of his wife and his son Leo. I am hugely grateful for what he has done in this sport and the way he holds himself on and off the court. I think he set an example for everyone and I wish him the best in this new phase of his life. We’re really going to miss him, maybe not playing against him because he runs a lot, but it has always been a pleasure to be around him as a person. And on a personal level, a friend is retiring, someone whom I have a lot of respect, admiration and affection for. I wish him the best”.