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Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro hug following their memorable quarter-final match at Wimbledon.

Delpo: 'Rafa Always Has A Little More Than The Rest'

Argentine reflects following his five-set battle against Rafael Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro had the perfect response when asked following his five-set quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal whether he’d come back to win the Wimbledon title in 2019.  

“If I recover myself after this match, yes,” he said, with a smile.

The 6’6” Argentine slipped at match point down and laid with his face in the Centre Court grass after four hours and 48 minutes of high-quality tennis Wednesday, rising after the World No. 1 climbed over the net to greet him at the baseline. “I wanted to stay there for all night long,” said Del Potro, “but Rafa came to me and we made a big hug, and it was kind of him.”

Last month when they met in the Roland Garros semi-finals, Nadal had dropped a total of seven games. At the All England Club, Del Potro had led two sets to one, and held chances to get back on serve in a fifth set lauded by Andy Murray on BBC TV as “one of the best sets I’ve ever seen”.

“I'm glad to play in this level against the No. 1 in the world. For me it's so good, looking forward to the future,” said Del Potro. “I was close to beat him and I couldn't because Rafa always has a little bit more than the rest of the players on tour. I think I have to keep working hard to see if in my next opportunity I can beat him.”

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Should the two players face off again this season, the rematch will likely come on hard courts. While Nadal leads their overall FedEx ATP Head2Head series 11-5, on hard courts they are even, 5-5. Del Potro’s lone victory over the Spaniard at a major came in the 2009 US Open semi-finals, en route to his first Grand Slam title.

Del Potro took satisfaction from his ability to shine on different surfaces this season, with his recent runs at Wimbledon and Roland Garros complementing an excellent hard-court campaign. He enjoyed a 15-match winning streak earlier this year, clinching titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells – his first ATP World Masters 1000 crown (d. Federer) – before his run came to an end in the Miami semi-finals (l. to Isner).

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“I'm playing good tournaments on different surface[s],” he said. “Now I'm looking forward to keep playing in this level at the US Open, which is one of my favourite tournaments to play. I will try to improve a little bit more. If I have chances to play Rafa or the top guys, I would like to be in that level to do a better match than today.”

Del Potro will have a chance to hone his game when he makes his return on hard courts in three weeks at the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex. It’s a welcome destination for the man who played for nearly five hours Wednesday.

“I play Los Cabos in Mexico, the beach (smiling),” he said.

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