Cristian Garin might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of grass-court or lawn tennis mastery—after all, he has won all of his five ATP titles on clay, but prefers hard courts. Coming into The Championships, Garin owned a 5-8 career record on grass and lost in the opening round of both tune-up events he played.

But after the way the Chilean reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon, he might want to reconsider his favorite surfaces.

“It’s so special. I’ve been working hard all my life to be in this position,” Garin said during his on-court interview “It’s a dream for me. Wimbledon, I’ve always said that it’s my favorite tournament.

“It’s a dream for me to be in the quarterfinals here.”


Up against No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur on Court No. 2, the Chilean scored one of the most epic upsets of the tournament as he bounced back from a two-sets-to-love deficit. He saved two match points, and needed more than four-and-a-half hours on his way to a 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-6) victory.

The victory avenged Garin’s first-round defeat a few weeks ago to the Aussie at Eastbourne, and also made him the first man from his country to to reach this stage at a major since Fernando Gonzalez in 2009.

So how does Garin feel about grass courts now? After declaring Wimbledon his “favorite tournament” during his on-court interview, he later walked things back a bit in his post-match press conference:

Q. Sometimes players from Chile are more associated with clay.

CRISTIAN GARIN: I said this is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface (smiling).

Fair enough, Cris! The Chilean is contesting his fifth edition at Wimbledon, so he’s had time to learn to love the lawns at the All England Club no matter the results. In a tough season that saw Garin struggle with a lingering shoulder injury, leading him to even ponder retirement, a career breakthrough at his favorite tournament is the perfect sign to keep on fighting.

He’ll need to draw from all that tenacity and experience when he takes on perennial grass-court threat Nick Kyrgios, who is in red-hot form after reaching his first major quarterfinal since 2015.

It will be the pair’s first meeting, with both players seeking a maiden Grand Slam semifinal berth.