3-6, 7-6, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How do you think you managed to turn it around?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I don’t know (smiling). But I did.
I’m surprised with the Mayer levels of today. I mean, he deserved to play like that. And I think I was very smart during the tiebreak. After then I turned around the match and the control of the points, and then I start to play much better right after the tiebreak.
Q. Any lessons from the US Open? Do you think back to that match at all and think you were hurting there and were able to stay in?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no. It was like four, five years ago. I don’t remember.
Q. No. I meant the match against Thiem where you weren’t feeling good and…
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no, no. Of course I couldn’t feel 100% because my back. But it wasn’t excuse to play at this level of today, and I will try to be better for after tomorrow.
And then for me has been playing too much matches, and my body feels the way what I’m using my body. But anyways, I’m healthy and I’m still playing good, and that gives me good confidence.
Q. This time last year you were sitting here just coming back and actually talking about you almost decided to end your tennis career. I think it was a first-round loss. Given then and where you are now, are you surprised? Does it seem surreal?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, yes, of course I didn’t expect to get in the top 10 again. And I won titles again, and I got the silver medal in Rio playing one of my best week of tennis on my life.
All these things happen after my surgery. Of course I cannot believe what I’m doing in my “new career,” you know. But I’m enjoying a lot. I just enjoy the tour more than few years ago. And I like to be here because this is my job and this is what I love.
Q. You said earlier this week that you have had to change your game, you have more variety, slices, things like that. If somebody had asked you, Would you trade your old game for this, you probably would have said no?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Of course no. Because with my old game, I won the US Open. I was No. 4 in the world. But with this way of play, I win — I won different things and important things too. And I think is the only way, if I want to keep playing tennis. And I deal with that every day and accept the conditions of my wrist or my body. And after that, I start every day to train or to play a match.
Q. I guess you have been building up your schedule since you returned from the surgeries. Do you feel now with the stretch of winning eight matches in a row, playing back to back, is that — do you feel that’s going to take you to where you want to be in terms of being able to play a full schedule?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It’s one of my goals for this year, try to play all tournaments what I like to play in all surface.
This is my fourth tournament. I think — no. I played Auckland, Melbourne, Delray. This is my fifth tournament, and I will play Miami.
And then I will stop for a while and see whether I’m available to play on clay, because my body doesn’t like to play on clay. But if I’m still healthy, I would love to play whole season and almost 20 tournaments.
Q. In what way does your body not like you to play on clay?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I have to run a lot (smiling). And I prefer a faster surface. For my game it’s better.
Q. Your return to the top 10 has been so fast. Do you think if you’d come back and hovered in the 40s and 50s, do you think you would have really still been happy just to be back on the court?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No. No, no. Well, during the first month of 2016, I was playing with my protection ranking, and I was losing very early in every tournament, and I couldn’t hit my backhands. That moment was horrible for me, because I don’t want to feel bad on court as I did in that time.
And I got lucky to play the Olympics game, because after that I start to play much better. I starting to get confidence from myself, from the crowd, from the people, and everybody give me a lot of energy to keep trying. Right after the Olympics game, my mind changed a lot. My game change also. I think I start to feel as I been few years ago.
Q. I think the two losses you had to Kohlschreiber were during that period you were talking about in 2016. Are you kind of now keen to face him in this kind of mode?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Of course I’m better than that moment, but Philippe are beating all guys here, playing great tennis. He has good backhands down the line. And I think all players have chance to win the tournament if they are in quarterfinals.
So will be a difficult match to me.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-15 03:57:00 GMT