How Hurkacz Turned A Nightmare Streak Into A ‘Dream Come True’ At Wimbledon
After a nightmare of a summer, Hubert Hurkacz has been living a ‘dream’ fortnight at Wimbledon after defeating former World No. 1 Roger Federer, his childhood idol, in emphatic style to reach the semi-finals.
“Walking off the court realizing that I won against Roger, I mean, [it was] just kind of a dream come true, especially here on grass in Wimbledon,” Hurkacz grinned in his post-match press conference. “[It] felt so special with the crowd around, as well.”
With a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 stunner over the eight-time champion Federer, 14th seed Hurkacz booked a place into his first Grand Slam semi-final, becoming the first Polish man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Jerzy Janowicz’s run in 2013.
But a milestone like this seemed out of reach at the start of the tournament, as he arrived at the All England Club on the back of a six-match losing streak. Hurkacz had been in his best form of the season after capturing the Miami Open presented by Itau title, his first ATP Masters 1000 triumph, backing up his strong start to the year at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.
He struggled to string together match wins as the ATP Tour season turned to clay and then later to grass, going 0-6 since winning his opening match at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April. But he never stopped believing in himself and trusting his game, Hurkacz said.
After falling in the first rounds of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart and NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, he recorded a confidence-boosting run to the Halle doubles final (w/ Auger-Aliassime) in the week before Wimbledon.
“I didn't play on grass in a while. So coming into that match [against Stricker in the first round of Stuttgart], I didn't have much confidence, much grass-court game,” he reflected. “Here, after winning a couple of matches, I really gained confidence and gained momentum. I believed in myself a lot before that [match] today.”
Hubert Hurkacz (@HubertHurkacz) July 7, 2021
He has continued to make the most of his regained momentum and find the positives out of tough situations all fortnight long. Case in point: Hurkacz had to fight through World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in five sets to claim his biggest win-by-ranking in a match which started on No. 2 Court on Monday and finished under the Centre Court roof on Tuesday – leaving him with one less day of rest heading into the quarter-final.
Rather than bemoan his tough luck, Hurkacz told press that he used the experience to improve his game and prepare himself for the big test to come against Federer on Wednesday.
“I think it helped me a lot actually, feeling the atmosphere, feeling the court there,” Hurkacz said. “Obviously playing against Roger here in Wimbledon is always special with the crowd cheering so much. I didn’t experience that yesterday, but playing on the Centre Court, feeling the court helped a lot.”
Hurkacz will hope to keep the momentum going as he takes on seventh seed Matteo Berrettini for a palace in the Wimbledon final. He’s looking to become the first Polish player to contest the championship match here since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012, and the first man from his country to do so in the Open Era.