Season Portrait: Diego Schwartzman
Beginning today with Argentine Diego Schwartzman, ATPTour.com over the next eight days will serve up a season snapshot of the eight players who qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals. The series is illustrated by intimate portraits shot by British photographer Simon Owen.
Diego Schwartzman earned one of the biggest victories of his career in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, upsetting Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard had won their first nine ATP Head2Head meetings, winning 22 of their 24 sets. But Schwartzman showed his marked improvement by playing aggressive tennis, overpowering and outmanoeuvring the best clay-court player in history at a venue, the Foro Italico, where the legendary lefty has lifted nine trophies. The 28-year-old won more sets in a day against Nadal than he had in nine previous matches combined.
Schwartzman led the ATP Tour in return games won in 2020 at 34.9 per cent, just beating out World No. 2 Rafael Nadal (34.4%). The Argentine played 40 matches this year and broke serve 175 times, an average of more than four service breaks per match. His career winning rate in return games is now 31.8 per cent.
“I’m really proud because I did many great things in many different weeks this year. But also I have the feeling in my body that I have to improve, because I want to be here [at the Nitto ATP Finals] again.”
The Road Ahead
Schwartzman, the No. 1 player from Argentina, enjoyed a year of firsts in 2020, reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final (Rome) and Grand Slam semi-final (Roland Garros). Now he will try to not just go further at those levels, but to add more trophies to the collection. The World No. 9 is a three-time ATP Tour champion, with his biggest victory coming in 2018 at the Rio Open presented by Claro, an ATP 500 event held in Brazil. He will also try to improve his hard-court results — Schwartzman has won 53 per cent of his tour-level matches on the surface compared to 57 per cent on clay.
Tomorrow... Andrey Rublev.
Photos: Simon Owen/Wonderhatch