He did hold that pose, a mixture of full-on despair and utter exhaustion, for a bit, which felt appropriate.
Then they walked to the sideline together, arms draped across each other's shoulders.
Nadal had not lost a set prior to his first quarterfinal at the All England Club since 2011, but was taken the distance in an epic encounter between two warriors of the game. "And for the fans, too".
Rafa Nadal now meets another old foe, Novak Djokovic, in the semi-final tomorrow. It will be their 52nd career meeting; Djokovic leads 26-25.
He reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2013, but four wrist surgeries - three on the left - nearly made him retire.
As Nadal looks ahead to the semi-finals, Del Potro heads for his next tournament. Nadal was back to needing one game to claim the set. It had a little of everything, great points, great rallies, he was hitting insane with his forehands.
Nadal ended the four hour and 48 minute thriller with a backhand volley victor past a lunging Del Potro who ended the contest lying flat on his stomach. I went to the net. He stepped on the short wall and landed in the lap of a female spectator.
As Nadal battled against Del Potro, it seemed as if the grasscourt major would lose its top two seeds as Argentine Del Potro took a two-sets-to-one lead.
That never really felt like much of a cushion, though.
The crowd were on their feet when Del Potro took off to end a magnificent point with a diving volley in a marathon third game, yet Nadal got the break with a sublime cross-court victor in the next service game. Del Potro, who sprayed his once pained wrist with a powder on most changeovers, had new shoes brought to him after the seventh game of the fourth set.
Soon enough, del Potro was down on his belly after one last slip, as Nadal finished off the victory with a volley. He picked himself up and dusted himself down to play on for another eight games, but it was a different story an hour later when there was nothing left to fight for.