How did Del Potro become such a powerhouse on Wimbledon grass?

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
Granted he never won Wimbledon nor made a final, but he's proven to be an enormously difficult roadblock for the greatest grass courters of this era. Having sapped Djokovic of all his energy over a 5 set tussle at Wimbledon 2013 semifinals and having taken Nadal to war at Wimbledon 2018 when Nadal had rediscovered his top level grass form once again after a hiatus over a few years prior. Then there was the huge amount of resistance Del Potro offered against Federer on grass at Olympics 2012.
Grass is a difficult surface for many young players to get a handle on. You'd think Del Potro of all players would be one who'd never be strong on the surface.
Is it just about accumulating some years of experience and getting acclimated to the surface? Which means that players like Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Thiem, Zverev, etc will eventually become fully comfortable on grass and be competing for Wimbledon in the coming years?
 

MasturB

Legend
Grass bounces a bit higher than pre-baseline era.

Because Del Po hits so flat, the ball just skids right off it and makes it harder to defend.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Djokovic and Nadal are not really grasscourters, and modern grass is not really grass.

Because Del Potro hits extremely flat and hard, and doesn't have huge racquet preparation, he can often take advantage of the speed of grass. It's not a style that is consistent enough on grass to win tournaments, but it causes a lot of trouble for players whose grass games centre heavily around the ability to defend.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
He has had epic battles at Wimbledon with each member of the Big 3 at some time or other: 2012 Olympic semi-final against Federer, 2013 Championships semi-final against Djokovic, 2018 Championships quarter-final against Nadal but never won any of them. His sole victory over any of them there was when he beat Djokovic in the bronze medal play-off at the 2012 Olympics.

Clearly the Big 3 bring out the beast in Del Potro at Wimbledon given that his record there against other players was never very impressive with straight set losses to Gulbis, Ferrer and Wawrinka and a 4 set loss to Pouille (none of them exactly noted for being grasscourt specialists), all in the early rounds.
 
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Mainad

Bionic Poster
Djokovic and Nadal are not really grasscourters, and modern grass is not really grass.

Well, it isn't made of anything else and Djokovic doesn't mind eating it whenever he wins the title. There is actually much more grass on Wimbledon courts these days than there ever was when the likes of Borg, McEnroe and Connors were playing.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Well, it isn't made of anything else and Djokovic doesn't mind eating it whenever he wins the title. There is actually much more grass on Wimbledon courts these days than there ever was when the likes of Borg, McEnroe and Connors were playing.
Modern grass doesn't really embody any of the characteristic challenges of a grass court. With high, consistent bounce you may as well be playing on carpet or fast hardcourt.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Modern grass doesn't really embody any of the characteristic challenges of a grass court. With high, consistent bounce you may as well be playing on carpet or fast hardcourt.

Adapt, adapt and adapt again. All the best players adapt to whatever the nature of the surface and, in my humble opinion, a grass court looks much more like the real thing when you can actually see the grass on it. :cool:
 

SonnyT

Legend
So not a real grass courter beats a best grass courter of all times! Not once, not twice, but three times in finals!

Once an accident, twice a trend, three times a pattern!
 

JaoSousa

Hall of Fame
Granted he never won Wimbledon nor made a final, but he's proven to be an enormously difficult roadblock for the greatest grass courters of this era. Having sapped Djokovic of all his energy over a 5 set tussle at Wimbledon 2013 semifinals and having taken Nadal to war at Wimbledon 2018 when Nadal had rediscovered his top level grass form once again after a hiatus over a few years prior. Then there was the huge amount of resistance Del Potro offered against Federer on grass at Olympics 2012.
Grass is a difficult surface for many young players to get a handle on. You'd think Del Potro of all players would be one who'd never be strong on the surface.
Is it just about accumulating some years of experience and getting acclimated to the surface? Which means that players like Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Thiem, Zverev, etc will eventually become fully comfortable on grass and be competing for Wimbledon in the coming years?
Sad that he didn't win a single one of those matches, but killed his opponent for the next round.
 
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