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Hard work is paying off for Diego Schwartzman




In fact, he lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the tournament, but he came out of the event with two prizes. The first is that he has reached a career-high ranking of No 34 in the world and the second is that Nadal presented the 24-year-old Argentinian with his playing shirt. This happens all the time in soccer but rarely in tennis.

Last Friday in Monte Carlo, Schwartzman did not only play on one of the most fascinating centre courts in tennis history, but he did it against a nine-time tournament champion and his big idol Nadal, who won 6-4 6-4 in a balanced match where the Argentinean player did everything he could.

Schwartzman actually led 4-2 in the second set but could not hold Nadal off. At the end of the match he asked Nadal for his game shirt which the Spaniard gladly handed over to him.

Diego, lost to Nadal also in 2013 Acapulco and in the 2015 US Open.

The Argentinian is probably the only Jewish tennis player in the top 100 these days and has been overlooked as nothing more than a journeyman. However, last year he started to turn the corner when he won his first ATP Tour event in Istanbul. Since then he has caught the eye, especially on clay, his favourite surface.  

Schwartzman was born in Buenos Aires; the family emigrated from Germany.   

He began playing tennis at the age of seven and despite his relatively small size, impressed his coaches but his height was always seen as a major issue.  

He could almost be called the Amanda Coetzer of the men’s tennis tour because at 1,7m, or five feet seven inches in the old measures, Schwartzman is the shortest player on the professional tour. 

It is a major disadvantage, but what he misses in height he makes up for in speed and tenacity. He never gives up and pulls off amazing shots.    

Not coming from a well-to-do family, getting him to compete in tournaments around the country and other parts of South America, was not an easy task. When Diego was a junior his mother went to the tournaments carrying bags filled with rubber bracelets made by father Ricardo so they could sell them in order to pay for the trips. At the age of 16 a private sponsor began to help him.

Right now, thanks to his success on the tour where he has earned prize money in excess of $1 million, he does not have to deal so much with that aspect anymore. Getting rid of the financial burden Schwartzman believes is one of the reasons for his recent success.

“Now, being able to have a big team around me helps, and the fact they can accompany me on tour, is fundamental to my growth, “explains Schwartzman.

Once the big bucks started to come in he could afford a top coach and early last year hooked up with former world No 15 Juan Ignacio Chela.

“Diego is a very good player, very intelligent and I try to bring him all my experience, after so many years on the circuit and try to help him play his best tennis,” said Chela.

Last December Schwartzman  began pre-season training under the watchful eye of Martiniano Orazi, the man who perfected the game of Juan Martin del Potro for more than seven years, and physical trainer Juan Manuel Galván.

“He has a good work ethic and is well co-ordinated thanks to his physical build, but he had to improve his strength and intensity,” said Orazi.

In Monte Carlo, after he beat Roberto Bautista Agut, he had tickets to watch the match between Monaco and Borussia Dortmund in the Fifa Champions League, but was tired and opted to stay in his hotel and relax.

The next day he came out and easily beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Marny Fischer

    May 7, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    ‘Diego is a pleasure to watch on court … 

    I wish announcers would stop talking about ‘diminutive size’ – Diego is taller in stature of character than most.’

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