Diego Schwartzman: Opportunity Knocks
In two appearances with Team World, Diego Schwartzman has delighted fans at Laver Cup Chicago 2018 and last year in Boston.
The No.1 Argentine crowd pleaser throws everything he has at the opposition, a tireless competitor with a smile that lights up the arena.
He knows only too well the importance of getting off to a good start as the points build on each day of Laver Cup competition and how close Team World has come to taking an early lead.
“The first day is very important for the confidence of the team,” he says. “How you play under tough conditions with a full crowd. Players watching you very close from the court, it’s very different the situation we are playing.
“It gives the team a lot of confidence to have a good start.”
Schwartzman’s first Laver Cup battle at the United Center on Day 1 against David Goffin ended in an 11-9 Laver Breaker to Team Europe, the same scoreline that settled his match against top-ten Andrey Rublev at TD Garden.
But Schwartzman, as with all his 2022 teammates, are highly motivated to reverse these close encounters. In 12 years on the pro tour, he has proved that hard work and a positive attitude will lead to consistently impressive results. This commitment has made Schwartzman a leading top 20 player, drawing on every ounce of his athletic talent to compete with the best on the world stage.
Schwartzman rose to a career-high No.8 in October 2020 a few weeks after upsetting Nadal in the quarterfinals at Rome. He qualified for the year-end ATP Finals, the first Argentine player to do so since Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.
How it’s going
Schwartzman began the season with confidence as he fought past world No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and found his feet in Argentina where only the best in the world could stop the man they call ‘Peque’.
No.8 Casper Ruud denied Schwartzman the title in Buenos Aires and Spanish sensation and eventual US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz won their final in Rio de Janeiro to become the youngest ATP 500 champion in history.
It took defending champion Tsitsipas three sets to shake off Schwartzman in their Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinal. The following week in Barcelona the clay court specialist notched a victory over Team World teammate Felix Auger-Aliassime before exiting to Pablo Carreno Busta in the semis.
Schwartzman was again impressive at Roland Garros, where in 2020 he made a career-best run to the semifinals for a rendezvous with eventual champion Rafael Nadal.
This time in Paris, he was stopped by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. Subsequent results on the North American swing proved that the counter puncher was making inroads on hard courts, advancing to the Round of 16 at the Cincinnati Masters and the third round of the US Open.
On playing Laver Cup
Named after Diego Armando Maradona – Schwartzman entertained Laver Cup fans in Boston during a doubles match with his fancy football footwork – the Argentine is delighted to be competing for a third time against some of the biggest names in tennis on Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe.
“It’s a big opportunity for us to see these guys one more time all together. Like super heroes in a movie all together,” he says.
“It’s an honor to share the court with these guys. A time to enjoy and, obviously, a time to win.”
“We have a very strong team. This year we have a big opportunity.”
“Is going to be like a small revenge, I played the [ATP] Final a few years ago with no people, no support. Without people it was really weird, this is an opportunity to enjoy the moment with a full stadium.”
It’s also an opportunity to spend more time with another of Schwartzman’s heroes, John McEnroe. “We share many emotions out of the court and on the court … one more chance to keep learning with him close to the court.”