After falling in Indian Wells, where he had better feelings, the Peque accepted a special invitation to the Arizona Tennis Classic in search of regaining game and confidence.
Diego Schwartzman He is living a difficult moment, tennis-wise. He small He can’t find a way around his game and so far this season, he’s only won two of the nine games he’s played. He couldn’t even perform well in the South American tour of brick dust, in which he always got good results: he lost in his debut in Córdoba, Buenos Aires, Rio and Santiago de Chile. Although his time in that last tournament left him with better feelings and in the Masters 1000 de Indian Wellsvictory in the initial round a Frederick Coria and got his first win since Australian Open. She did not manage to advance further in the Californian desert because she came across Casper Ruud, number four in the world, who surpassed him comfortably; but wanting to continue working and not lose the progress of recent weeks, he decided to face a different challenge starting this Monday.
The porteño, 38th in the ranking, will play a tournament of the Challenger Tour for the first time in almost seven years, as he accepted a special invitation from the Arizona Tennis Classica contest of that category, which is held in Phoenix on hard courts and distributes 220 thousand dollars in prizes.
Thus, he will be able to continue competing in a “lost” week, which, otherwise, he would have had to dedicate only to training, and he will have the chance to prepare his participation in the competition against good rivals. Masters 1000 de Miamiwhich will start on Wednesday 22. It is that the contest will have the Italian in the box Matthew Berrettini (23rd in the world and another who received a wild card after losing quickly in Indian Wells), the French Gael Monfils (also invited) and Richard Gasquet (43rd), the Czech Use Lehecka (47°) and the Kazakh Alexander Bublik (46°), among others.
To find Schwartzman’s last participation in a challenger, you have to go back to the end of 2016. From November 14 to 20 of that year, the Peque played a contest of that category in Montevideo, on brick dust. He was ranked 58th in the ATP ranking and won the title – the eighth of his career – by beating the Brazilian 6-4, 6-1 Rogerio Dutra Silva, then 103rd, in the final. It was the closing of a season in which he had won his first title (at the beginning of May, in istanbul) and played another final, in October, in antwerp.
The following year, the porteño began the rise that led him to win another three titles (Rio de Janeiro 2018, Los Cabos 2019 and Buenos Aires 2021); to subdue Rafael Nadal, the undisputed King of brick dust, on his favorite surface, at Rome 2020; to be a semifinalist in Roland Garros that same year; He has already reached the eighth step of the world ranking. And to remain, in addition, in the top 40 of the classification uninterruptedly since June 2017.
But small entered a well. Since his loss in the third round of the US Open against Frances Tiafoein September, accumulates a record of just two victories and 13 defeats (counting the one suffered in the last edition of the Making Cup, an exhibition tournament but that the ATP adds for its statistics). After passing through New York, he closed 2022 -in which he confessed that he suffered anxiety attacks- with six consecutive falls. And at the start of this 2023, he has a 2-7 mark.
Hours before his debut in the Argentina Open -said goodbye to the Spaniard Bernabé Zapata-, the porteño told Clarion: “I’m training very well, but perhaps the difference is that I don’t have the confidence I had at key moments in the matches, when I was 4-4 or in a tie break. At those moments when I stole points and won in uncomfortable situations That’s where a lot of confidence came from in my game. That’s where I have to become strong again. We’re always looking for solutions”.
“Today we are considering very short-term goals. Going into each game, making fewer mistakes, being more solid and feeling good again. Getting back to the good feelings,” he added.
On Wednesday, after his celebration against Coria in his debut in the Californian desert, he commented: “I am happy because my last six months were not easy. I came out of the Top 20 after five years. They have been difficult times. But I am working hard, It’s the only way I know how to do it. It’s the only way I know how. And having these kinds of matches is very good for me right now.”
At 30 years old, he small wants to “be again”. And after a bittersweet time in Indian Wells -in which he barely reached the second round, but was able to win a game and played at a good level again-, he was not afraid to accept a different challenge and go down to the Challenger Tour, to continue adding minutes on the court, pace and, above all, confidence.