THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you feel out there? Looked like you were feeling pretty strong and really hitting through your backhand, I thought, with full strength, looked like?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I played solid from all the ways. I did my game during whole match. I played very aggressive in my returning games. I served well, and I think I played better than I expect before the match.
Q. What’s your confidence like in hitting that backhand stroke and really going for it? Are you feeling at this point that you can let fly on it?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I’m still working on my backhand a lot. It’s much better than few months ago.
But I’m still need to improve if I want to hit hard and play down the line or crosscourt or whatever I like.
But I also, I’m using a lot my slices, dropshots, and I mix it up all the time, and that’s good for my game.
Q. The conditions here change a lot between day and night.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: A lot (smiling). Yeah.
Q. Can you tell us how it affects you and which you prefer?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I have been practicing every morning and every afternoon, and tonight the conditions were pretty different, but I like it. I play well. That’s important.
But, I mean, it’s for all players are the same conditions, and you must try to win during the day or the night-session matches and do your game, and that’s it.
Q. People often talk about your forehand being one of the biggest in the game. When you came up, was there anyone whose forehand you modeled yours on and now whose forehand do you think is really…
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I’m glad with my forehand. I will never change my forehand, for sure.
But there are other players who has big forehands, too, on tour, like, I mean, Kyrgios has a big forehand and Thiem, Roger, Rafa, many other players.
But I always have confidence with my forehands, even the surface, and that could be the difference between me and the rest of the guys.
Q. Can you talk about Alex and his game? What do you make of him?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I think he’s pretty good. He has to keep working hard. Because he’s only 19 years old, and the body is still growing and growing, and it’s not easy to play at this level when you don’t manage your body yourself. But he has the conditions to be even better than today, and I wish all the best because he’s a nice guy.
Q. I don’t know if you saw Novak’s match today, but I’m just wondering if you feel for him, having been through the injuries yourself and seeing him struggling out there a little bit to kind of find his rhythm again.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, it’s not easy to come back and play good tennis, as everybody expect Novak’s game. And mentally you must be strong enough to deal with these kind of losses in this big of tournaments.
But I think it’s only time to get where he deserve to be. And if his body feels good, the tennis come along and the confidence come along too. But is not easy to deal with this kind of frustrations after injuries or when you always be the favorite to win a tournament, you come here and you lose in first round. Is not easy. But he’s strong enough to deal with that, and I love him and I want to see him in the top positions very soon.
Q. I’m curious, any other players who are injured or go through things like that, do they ever come to you for advice and how to deal with it?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Sometimes, yeah (smiling).
I remember this Australian Open and Pablo Andujar comes to me, and he ask me few questions, and I give to him some advice.
But I don’t have magic answer word to these guys. Just trying to do there for what your body says and never give up. And then if you has to be playing tennis, you will be there, for sure.
Q. We’re less than 100 days to the World Cup. How do you rate Argentina’s chances and why do you think a team that has Messi has not won?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think Argentina and everybody wants to see Messi with the World Cup, no? The soccer world needs Messi with that trophy. And, in my country, we have very high expectation in Russia. And I know the players feels that pressure, because I feel when I was playing Davis Cup. It was similar.
But Lio is a great guy and he deserve to win, but he’s doing more than he can for our country, and I’m very proud to have Messi with the Argentinian flags around the world, and hopefully Argentina can win the World Cup.
Q. Your draw opened up a little bit today. Nishikori, Djokovic, Isner all gone. I know you know it was a tough draw going in, but…
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Still tough draw. I play with Ferrer after tomorrow, and he’s one of the guys who can win the tournament every time. It’s gonna be a big battle for me, and see if I can go through and then see how is the draw.
But I’m just thinking about the big match and see if I can play better.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-12 05:20:00 GMT