Tennis-Hurkacz soaks up gain from rain to get ready for Federer

Tennis: Wimbledon

By Sudipto Ganguly

(Reuters) - Monday's downpour at Wimbledon could have helped Hubert Hurkacz in more ways than just aiding his comeback win against second seed Daniil Medvedev that gave the Pole a maiden spot in the quarter-finals of the grasscourt Grand Slam.

When the players returned on Tuesday to complete the suspended match, Hurkacz overturned a two sets to one deficit against the Russian in the blink of an eye and then went on to dominate and reach the last eight at a major for the first time.

That was not all, however.

The suspended match was scheduled on Centre Court which allowed the 14th seed to get a feel of the conditions at the All England Club's main show court, where he will take on childhood idol Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

"Playing Roger in a huge, huge arena, it's something special. Probably a full crowd," he told reporters after his victory, which was played under the closed roof.

"I think actually playing today might have helped me because I got used to the indoor conditions, the conditions on the big court, how the ball bounces there, all the crowd.

"I think that actually can help me in my next match."


Federer knows the Centre Court like the back of his hand but the 24-year-old Pole will not be nervous playing the sixth-seeded Swiss great, who counts eight Wimbledon trophies among his 20 Grand Slam titles.

"Roger is a special player. I mean, what he's achieved throughout his whole career, it's unbelievable," said Hurkacz, who lost his only meeting against the 39-year-old at Indian Wells in 2019.

"Then the way he plays is also special. Being out there playing (in the) quarter-finals against him, it's really amazing. But obviously I'm out there to play my best and give myself the best chance of winning the match.

"He was a big inspiration for me. I mean, the success that he had, the way he played, how he plays in the important moments, it's really special."

It has been nothing short of an unbelievable run on the manicured grasscourts at Wimbledon for Hurkacz, who won his maiden ATP Masters title in Miami in April.

The 14th seed arrived at the All England Club having lost his last six matches, including first-round exits on grass in Stuttgart and Halle in the lead-up.

"Coming to Wimbledon I didn't win a match on grass in singles," said Hurkacz, who reached the doubles final at Halle with Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

"I was, like, practising, trying to work on my grass court game there. I think I spent a lot of time on grass just to be as ready as I could for this event."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Ken Ferris)