Del Potro Feeling Good Ahead Of Clay Debut In Estoril
It might sound off at first, but Juan Martin del Potro is feeling at home this week as he returns to Portugal for an ATP World Tour event for the fourth time. Del Potro, who hails from Tandil, Argentina, said Estoril, the host site of this week's Millennium Estoril Open, reminds him of his hometown in eastern Argentina.
“I feel like I’m at home,” del Potro said. “I’m enjoying being in Portugal a lot.”
The 28-year-old del Potro has certainly played like a man comfortable in his environment during his three trips to Portugal. Del Potro has gone 10-1, a stretch that includes two titles (2011, 2012). He has won nine consecutive matches and 17 straight sets in the European coastal country.
“Estoril has been a great place for me. I have great memories from this tournament. It’s something different for me, it’s now in a different stadium. But it’s still great for all the players, and I’m so happy to be back,” said del Potro, who last played in Portugal in 2012. “Every time when I start in Portugal, then I have a great season on clay. That means something good to me and something I’ll try to repeat.”
In 2012, after winning his second Estoril title, del Potro reached the semi-finals in Madrid, the round of 16 in Rome and the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
This year's Estoril tournament will mark del Potro's fifth tournament of 2017 and his season debut on clay. The 6'6” right-hander has gone 6-4 this season, and Estoril will be his first tournament since the Miami Open presented by Itau in March, when he lost to eventual champion Roger Federer in the third round.
All four of del Potro's losses this season have come against Top 6 opponents. The fifth-seeded del Potro opens against Japan's Yuichi Sugita on Tuesday.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling ready to start the clay season and hopefully I can enjoy good results,” he said. “I have a lot of fans here and the people with me are very nice, and I’m so happy to show my tennis to them.”