After Diego Schwartzman reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals on Monday, the Argentine joked that while he was happy to advance, he was not as excited at the prospect of facing 13-time Rafael Nadal. Whether the 10th seed likes it or not, the legendary lefty is next.
“I think at the beginning of every match against Rafa, you have to walk on the court thinking [about] winning the match, to have opportunities, to get opportunities,” Schwartzman said. “[It is important to] think about something else and not think about Rafa [being] on the other side of the net.”
Schwartzman Storms Into Third Roland Garros Quarter-final
It is no secret that Schwartzman has not had an abundance of success against the Spaniard. Nadal leads their ATP Head2Head series 10-1, and the Argentine knows it will take a very high level for several hours just to have a chance.
“If you think about the four, five hours you are going to play, if you think about everything about Rafa in Roland Garros, he’s very difficult to play,” Schwartzman said. “You have to go on court, think about the tactics, think about how to play your best game.”
Besides the mental approach to the match, Schwartzman believes it will be important to get off to a good start. He believes players who start well against Nadal can then better focus on the task at hand if they come out firing.
“I think it’s very important not just for me, just also for Rafa when the opponent starts with good tennis, the match is going to [go] a different way,” Schwartzman said. “It’s always tough. But at the end it’s Rafa and you never know what is going to happen, and everyone knows that it’s going to be very difficult.”
Watch Highlights: Schwartzman’s Rome Win vs. Nadal
Schwartzman earned what he calls the biggest win of his career against Nadal last year in Rome. Just weeks later, he lost against the Spaniard in straight sets in the Roland Garros semi-finals. No matter what happens when they clash on Wednesday, the 28-year-old is excited for the opportunity.
“Playing against Rafa in these kinds of tournaments, it’s always a good time to know how good are you playing. It’s always a good challenge,” Schwartzman said. “I know we played two times here [and they] were good matches, and now let’s see what happens. I have to enjoy today, a day [off] tomorrow, and let’s see what happen on Wednesday.”