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Schwartzman calls foul at Anderson’s jibes

  • Sport3Aug
Following Kevin Anderson’s heroics at Wimbledon last month, when he fought a relentless semifinal against American John Isner, he was cheered as a hero by almost every South African.
by JACK MILNER | Aug 02, 2018

Anderson showed incredible fighting spirit in a match that contained 99 games, 102 aces, and went for almost seven hours in a history-making display. The fifth set alone went on for 50 games (26-24). Even Isner was full of praise for the South African.

However, there is a tennis player who is not a fan of Anderson, namely Diego Schwartzman. Ranked No 12 in the world, he is the highest ranked Jewish tennis player on the tour, and at 1.7m tall, the Argentinian is also the shortest player on the men’s tour.

As a result, he is affectionately known by the Argentinian Jewish community as el Peque (the small). He is known as the “mensch” of the tour by other Jewish players and coaches, and consistently says nice things about his opponents.

But he is not a member of the Anderson fan club, recalling the five-set match he had with the South African at the French Open a month back.

While everybody was praising the South African, the Argentine complained about Anderson’s lack of respect during their match the previous month in which Schwartzman came back from two sets down to win in five sets. Anderson took a 6-1 6-2 lead, before Schwartzman clawed back to win the third 7-5. It was a case of David versus Goliath, as Anderson stands 2.03m tall.

Anderson started reacting after every point he won, whether it came from a winner he hit, or off and error made by his opponent. Schwartzman clearly did not enjoy getting feedback after every point while trying to keep his grand-slam campaign alive.

During one change of ends, Schwartzman let the chair umpire know he was frustrated about the way the extroverted Anderson was conducting himself. He was especially upset at the South African’s celebration after Schwartzman had made an unforced error.

“How are you supposed to go every point saying, ‘Right here! Right here! Right here!’ Every point,” Schwartzman said. “I’ve never seen something like this. Never. I’ve never seen it. Never.

“Because, even if he plays a good point or if I did a bad choice (sic), he’s always saying something. Always. Shut up!

“Every point. He’s not respecting, you know. You’ve got to have some respect for the players. Because when I miss the ball, you need to be quiet. Not every point saying, ‘Come on’ … Shut up!”

The umpire looked like she was trying to suppress her laughter, but gave a supportive nod to the Argentine when Schwartzman asked if she was on his side.

“You think I am not right? OK. You are with me? Thanks,” he said.

Schwartzman said he was intent on getting his revenge, following his third-set fightback, with another never-say-die effort in the fourth, which he won in a tiebreak to send the match into a deciding set.

It was a depressing development for Anderson, who against all odds found himself in a fifth set. He had served for the match twice in two different sets when he was 5-3 up in the third, and 5-3 up in the fourth.

The third and fourth sets lasted about two hours combined, but while Anderson wilted, Schwartzman found a new gear. He stormed home in the fifth to win 1-6 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-0) 6-2, and advance to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.

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