Totally epic semi-final this afternoon at Wimbledon: admittedly I haven't watched a lot of tennis in recent years, but when people like Boris Becker, Sue Barker and John McEnroe are all saying a match is one of the greatest of all time, you know it's something special. And it certainly was. I completely fell for Juan Martín Del Potro last year when he worked so hard in another totally epic semi-final - in the Olympics, where he lost to Roger Federer - and I've been watching his matches at Wimbledon this year. Just magic - such a strong player, so much heart and character, and this afternoon we saw some lovely comic moments too, like when he netted a sure thing and then picked the ball up and talked to it, and put it over the net to show it what it was supposed to have done. And some of those cross-the-court forehands (love the way he pronounces that with a real phlegmy Spanish h in the middle) are just incredible. Very sad to see him lose. But astonishingly he's only twenty-four and I hope to see him emerge as a megastar soon if he can keep himself in one piece for long enough.
Some sweet little gems from his interview after the match:
"Do you think Novak can recover in time for the final?"
"First I would like to recover myself! Then I wish all the best to Nole, he’s a good guy, a good friend of mine..."
"Tell us a bit about your relationship with Novak?"
"Outside of the court we are very friendly and we have a fantastic relationship. But when we are playing we want to win for sure and was like a big battle out there. When he fell a couple of times I was worried because he is my opponent but he also is my friend, you know, and he asked me all the time about my knee. And that thing is very fair, and I love the way..." (And I'm intrigued as to what he was going to say there!)
And now someone needs to write some Del Potro / Djokovic "You know I still love you, right?"