Road to Boston: Diego Schwartzman, Team World
Diego Schwartzman returns for his second Team World appearance, eager to build on his experience from Chicago three years ago.
The 15th-ranked Argentine may be the shortest player in the top 100 at just 5ft 7in, but “El Peque” – or “Shorty” in Spanish – packs a punch, with his exceptional court coverage and counter-punching complementing captain John McEnroe’s Team World lineup.
How it started:
The spearhead of Argentina’s ATP Cup campaign, Schwartzman opened 2021 with a loss to Team Europe player Daniil Medvdev but rebounded to snatch a win against former world No.4 Kei Nishikori.
Eventual semifinalist Aslan Karatsev surprised the eighth seed in the third round of the Australian Open before Schwartzman returned to home soil for back-to-back events on clay.
First trophy on home soil
In his hometown tournament in Buenos Aires, the 29-year-old realized a childhood dream as he secured the title without dropping a set, defeating compatriot Francisco Cerundolo in the final.
His victory made him the first Argentine champion in Buenos Aires since David Nalbandian in 2008 and marked his first trophy since 2019. Schwartzman had previously reached two finals in Argentina only to be denied.
“It was an emotional week. [It was] very different because in the other weeks you don’t have all your family and friends with you, the people who never see you on court,” Schwartzman told ATPTour.com. “Having these moments, sharing this with them and winning the title is a totally different feeling. It’s amazing.”
Schwartzman did not find his rhythm on clay again until he arrived at Roland Garros, where as 11th seed, he stretched Rafael Nadal in a gripping four-set quarterfinal. The Argentine had beaten third seed Dominic Thiem only to fall to Nadal in the semifinals of the 2020 edition.
At Wimbledon, eventual quarterfinalist Marton Fucsovics saw off Schwartzman in the third round.
How it’s going
Russian Karen Khachanov ground out a three-set win over Schwartzman in the round of 16 at the Tokyo Olympic Games en route to the silver medal. It was a precursor of the Argentine’s North American hard-court swing to come as notched round of 16 showings in Toronto, Cincinnati and New York.
At the US Open, he was forced to overcome wild weather and a former top-five opponent just to pass the second round, as his match with Kevin Anderson shifted courts only to finish after 1am. Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp eventually ended his run in five sets in the fourth round.
Schwartzman on playing Laver Cup
The former world No.8’s never-say-die attitude is a key asset as he looks to help orchestrate Team World’s first Laver Cup triumph.
“The Laver Cup is such a great event,” Schwartzman said. “Playing in front of a full stadium at the United Center in Chicago back in 2018 was just incredible.
“I can only imagine, after the year we’ve all had, what the atmosphere will be like in front of a full capacity home crowd at TD Garden – it’s going to be incredible.”