Hubert Hurkacz is living the dream after experiencing a nightmare.
Hurkacz aims to become the first Pole to reach the Wimbledon men’s final in the Open era after stunning eight-time champion Roger Federer, his childhood hero, in the last eight.
Here at Wimbledon, after winning a couple of matches, I really gained confidence and gained momentum. I believed in myself a lot before the match with Roger Hubert Hurkacz
And he will become the first from his country to contest a semi-final since Jerzy Janowicz reached the same stage eight years ago when he takes on Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini on Centre Court.
He also has the incentive of emulating fellow Pole Agnieszka Radwanska’s 2012 feat of reaching a Wimbledon final,
But the 14th seed had come into the tournament having suffered six singles defeats on the bounce as clay turned to grass on the ATP Tour, although he was consoled by a run to the Halle doubles final with Wimbledon quarter-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The 24-year-old said: “Walking off the court realising that I won against Roger was just kind of a dream come true, especially here on grass in Wimbledon, It felt so special with the crowd around, as well.
“I didn’t play on grass in a while. So coming into that match [against Stricker in the first round at Stuttgart], I didn’t have much confidence, much grass-court game. Here at Wimbledon, after winning a couple of matches, I really gained confidence and gained momentum. I believed in myself a lot before the match with Roger.”
Hurkacz has recaptured the form he showed in winning the Miami Open, his first ATP Masters 1000 triumph, having also claimed the Delray Beach Open earlier in the year.
He produced further evidence on the lawns of London SW19 when he battled to overcome world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in five sets in the last 16. It was the biggest win in terms of ranking for the Polish No.1. And it left him with just one day to prepare for his match against Federer, who had two, because rain on Monday caused his showdown with Medvedev to be held over and finished on a show court.
But he believes the experience on such a big stage gave him a helping hand in when it came to taking on Swiss superstar Federer.
Hurkacz said: “I think it helped me a lot actually, feeling the atmosphere, feeling the court there. Obviously playing against Roger here in Wimbledon is always special with the crowd cheering so much. Playing on the Centre Court, feeling the court helped a lot.”
Hurkacz’s profile has certainly been heightened by his All England heroics. It is in stark contrast to when not one question was asked at the press conference following his Miami triumph!