Diving, Smiling & Federer: Hurkacz On Grass
In an interview with ATPTour.com earlier this grass-court season, Hubert Hurkacz said that if he could play any player on grass, it would be Roger Federer because of all the titles he has won on the surface. The Polish star got his wish on Wednesday at Wimbledon, where he defeated the 39-year-old in straight sets to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.
The 14th seed is just the second Polish man in history to advance to a major semi-final, following in the footsteps of Jerzy Janowicz, who made the last four at The Championships in 2013. Before Hurkacz plays Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the final, learn more about why the 24-year-old loves grass, what he would bring with him to the Wimbledon Queue and more.
Biggest adjustment physically when switching to grass?
You have to get your body ready for dives. You try to at your house jump on your bed, do some stuff so that you’re ready.
First thing that comes to mind when it comes to grass-court tennis?
Fun. I think for most of the players, coming out for the first hit on grass, everyone is laughing and smiling. It’s a lot of fun.
Your favourite thing about playing on grass?
Overall just the whole theme of grass courts. You have different shoes, the ball bounces so differently. But it’s nice, I enjoy it. Playing on grass courts, there is grass and not clay, so I enjoy that!
The worst thing about playing on grass?
There are no bad things about playing on grass. Sometimes there are bad bounces, but it’s good. I like it.
Most memorable Wimbledon match as a fan?
That’s a tough question. It’s tough to pick one out. There were a couple of long matches like John Isner against Nicolas Mahut [in 2010]. Obviously that was something else and I was very young at that point. I just remember from reading the newspaper and following the score. I was 13 at the time. I prefer to play than watch.
If you could play any player from any generation on grass, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Roger. He’s won so many titles there and I still can play him there. I can’t say my game plan out loud now. (Editor's Note: Hurkacz beat Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.)
Photo Credit: AELTC/Pool/Getty Images
For playing on grass, do you prefer all-white or something with colour?
I like all-white. It’s something special and unique. For two weeks, because it’s just Wimbledon, it’s pretty good.
Serve-and-volley or chip-and-charge?
Both! I like chip and charge because you can chip and then you charge.
Fresh-cut grass or worn-down grass?
Definitely fresh-cut grass. The first days at the tournament the grass is so nice because it’s all green throughout the whole court and then after a couple of days it’s a bit worn down, especially at the back of the court where all the people are in the centre. Basically there is less grass, more dirt.
Build the perfect grass-court player - serve, slice, forehand, backhand, volley?
John Isner’s serve. That’s easy. Feliciano Lopez’s slice is a pretty good one. Forehand I would go with Juan Martin del Potro. Backhand I would go with Andy Murray. For the volley, Roger Federer.
Three things you would bring while waiting in the Wimbledon Queue overnight?
Some food, because I might get hungry. Some nuts, they don’t take too much space and then I can throw the package away. It would be pretty good to bring a couple of friends so we can have fun, enjoy it and chill. Then maybe a mattress with a pillow.