An interview with Del Potro: “I hope to win another Grand Slam”
By BenDou Zhang, TITAN
Translation by Blanca
(Juan Martín Del potro readily accepted our interview thanks to the sponsor Rolex.)
Even if he had a close shave, when Juan Martín Del Potro sits face to face with you, you can’t help marvelling at how much he looks like the Monkey King! (@#~%^&*#~%^#) No wonder he’s given a nickname "Sun Wukong" by Chinese tennis fans. (not his fans, we call him “笨波”, means “simple & cute Delpo”)
Communicating via English makes his answer highly stylized, especially on tennis-related issues, such as "I will try to play my best tennis in this tournament" or "I will keep working to reach the new level". But when it comes to football, Del potro began to be in high spirits. His eyes sparkles every now and then.
TITAN: To begin with, the driver took me back that evening, told me that he just sent Blake to hotel, and Blake hardly said a word. Obviously, losing such a five-set battle, you won’t feel good. But as the winner, do you think the sport is very cruel as well?
Del potro: Well, in fact James is always a quiet man. In this regard, we are quite alike. I can understand him, he lost in that way, too bad for him. But we really played a great game, spectators were so excited. It’s important. But I have to admit, in this case, you’ll feel better if you are the winner. Of course.
TITAN: When you entered the room, I found you’re even taller than I thought. Then, as a tennis player, what advantage is being so tall? And disadvantage?
Del potro: Compare with smaller players, we big guys tend to fatigue easily when running a lot. That’s why I prefer hardcourt though I grew up on clay. As I want to finish every point ASAP, instead of playing a long match. Of course, I’m working hard to improve my physical fitness.
TITAN: And advantage?
Del potro: Well, my forehand and serve are powerful as I’m tall. I think of them as my strongest weapons. And if I have confidence in my forehand, I will be more likely to win. Of course, I will improve my movement and my volley to play well on all surfaces.
TITAN: As is said, if you win a Grand Slam when you are very young, it may take a long time to recover.
Del potro: Yeah, I really need time and experience to adapt to it. Being a GS winner, you will get more pressure and expectation. I hope I can be a much better player, like Roger and Rafa. But I’m still young, I hope I can get better and better. I’m looking forward to the future.
TITAN: In Kooyong, you said that you feel same, have same friends, and nothing changes in your life after US Open. It’s difficult to keep the same person you were, isn’t it?
Del potro: Yeah, I really feel that - things have changed. You make success, and you will have many new friends. Also there are a few people try to approach you with ulterior motives. Be close to good people, is what I can do. They will help me to make right decision.
TITAN: What’s the perfect life in your eyes?
Del potro: Just like now. I think I’ve led a perfect life. I love my work, my dear family and friends are always with me. What can I expect more? But as to tennis, I will not feel satisfied easily. I have a lot of goals and I’ll fight for them.
TITAN: Then, what’s your goals this year? Win more GS? Or become No. 1? I know you admire John McEnroe, but he said that he can’t imagine you can win two majors in a row.
Del potro: Well, men's tennis is highly competitive field nowadays. It’s really hard to make it again, to play well in two weeks as I did in New York. But I will try to prove myself once more. Perhaps I’m not the favorite to win the tournament, but I think I might have a chance too. I’d like to win another Grand Slam. And the ranking is not so important relatively.
TITAN: You’ve been to Shanghai twice, to play the TMC and TMS. What’s your impression of Shanghai and the fans there?
Del potro: The city is large and the fans are enthusiastic. I enjoy playing there. Fans wait for us back hotel every day. They ask for our autograph, give us chocolates and other gifts. Only can we get such warm welcome in China.
TITAN: China has made great progress in women's tennis. Both Zheng Jie and Li Na have been into the 4th round. But do you wonder, why no Chinese players are in the ATP World Tour?
Del potro: Don’t worry. China has such a large population! There are top Chinese female players now, so top male players (from China) will surely emerge. China is a power in nearly every sport field and men's tennis will be no exception. Look forward to the future!
TITAN: You are not the most famous Argentine athlete in China.
Del potro: Haha, I know I know, I know who you say – he’s Luis Scola, right? He’s very famous in China. I heard about that. In fact, we are friends, though not intimate ones, we keep in touch with each other. And he came to watch me in New York two years ago!
TITAN: Argentina's football is also very popular in China. Messi has a great many fans there.
Del potro: Oh, Messi, of course, he is famous all over the world.
(At that moment, the ATP officer who sat by us added:" Del Potro got more votes than Messi to win the Olimpia de Oro award last year.")
TITAN: You are a football fan, fond of Boca Juniors and Juventus. You also played football in your childhood. Then why did you give up it? For your “altitude”?
Del potro: Yeah, I’m too tall, nearly 2 meters. If I don’t play tennis, I can even play basketball. Maybe I can be Yao’s teammate! Haha.