Rafael Nadal rampaged past Juan Martin del Potro permitting just seven games in a crushing Roland Garros semifinal thrashing last month.
Del Potro aims to red-line his game when he meets Nadal in tomorrow’s Wimbledon quarterfinal rematch.
Aggression is on the agenda when Grand Slam champions collide.
“Well, it will be a different match that we played in Paris few weeks ago,” del Potro said after wrapping a demanding four-set win over Gilles Simon to burst into his second careeer Wimbledon quarterfinal today. “I will try to hold my service games most of the time. If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances.”
The world No. 1 has won 10 of 15 career meetings with del Potro, including winning their two grass-court clashes—at the 2007 Queen’s Club and 2011 Wimbledon—but the 2009 US Open champion has beaten Nadal on some of the biggest stages in the sport.
Del Potro edged Nadal, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (5) on hard court in the 2016 Rio Olympic semifinals and delivered one of the Spaniard’s worst Grand Slam thrashings with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 sweep over an injured Nadal in the 2009 US Open semifinals.
Del Potro made history in New York becoming the first man to beat Nadal and Roger Federer in the same Grand Slam tournament.
“Everybody admires [Nadal] as a competitor. He’s a fighter,” said del Potro, who grew up looking up to Lleyton Hewitt. “He always trying to be positive and thinking in the next ball. Doesn’t matter if he miss or not. Is too tough to see a guy in front of the net when they are always positive during the game.
“As a player, it’s amazing. He’s the No. 1. He has been making records every Grand Slam. I’m very proud to be in the same era as him and Roger.”
They are two of the most popular players in the sport, so who will enjoy more crowd support when Nadal and del Potro square off on Centre Court?
“I don’t know. Could be even,” del Potro said. “I would like to have my big support tomorrow. I will need a big support for play my best tennis. But will be a good atmosphere, for sure.”
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