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Marcos Giron is making his debut in the Rome main draw this week at the Foro Italico.

Gamers: Why Less is More For Giron

American explains how important video games became during the pandemic

After losing in the final round of qualifying at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Marcos Giron received a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. The American has taken full advantage at the Foro Italico, where he defeated Alexander Bublik and 12th seed Diego Schwartzman to reach the third round.

Before the former college tennis star faces eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, learn more about Giron's life off court in this edition of Gamers.

How much do you play video games these days?
To be honest, in the past year, I’ve played a lot less than I did during the pandemic and even pre-pandemic. I play maybe once a week and maybe even less than that, once a month.

I think in part, [video games are] amazing and I think growing up video games were the anti-social thing to do. But I actually think it’s very social. It’s good being away from home to play online with friends and do something together. I found it great, especially when we were in bubbles and weren’t able to leave the hotel room. It was a fun way to stay engaged.

But since things have opened up and we’re travelling to cool cities, it kind of makes me appreciate being able to go out, visit the cities, have fun and visit other people.

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During the pandemic we saw some players start travelling with their PlayStation. How much did you do that?
I travelled with a PlayStation for quite a while. I was doing it when Fortnite came out, so that was probably [around] 2017. Since 2017, through 2020, I was travelling a lot with the PlayStation. I played Fortnite. Call of Duty was a lot of fun. I played God of War, which was pretty epic.

Some guys travel with a PS4 and also a monitor in their suitcase, but I never travelled with a monitor. I just connected with whatever TV there was... I just made do with what it was and honestly it’s really good fun and I still really enjoy doing it. I just haven’t been travelling with my PlayStation. But when I’m back home or somebody else has it, I’ll play.

Is there something to “getting away” by playing video games because you spend so many hours on site? Obviously playing tennis is how you make your living so you have to, but is there something to doing something different?
Absolutely, yes. As a professional tennis player, it’s like we have to do everything we can to maximise our abilities, at least for me. Everyone is so good and the margins are so small. But part of that is also being able to disengage and being able to focus on other things, because if you’re thinking about tennis all day, every day — which I’m thinking about a lot of the time — it’s important to have an outlet.

I think most players have some form of an outlet. I think it’s good and healthy to be able to have that. [Video games] were a great outlet. But for me, I actually feel like the eyes are so important, that in part I’ve been playing a little bit less, because I feel like if I’m just locked in on the screen for so long, my eyes start getting a little blurred and that’s not necessarily the best thing! But I honestly think it’s so amazing.

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How much do you follow professional e-sports?
I was watching some streaming, especially when Fortnite came out, to see how these pro gamers play. I haven’t gotten that into e-sports as far as watching it. I’ve seen a few streams on YouTube, but I wouldn’t know who the top players are when it comes to e-sports.

When you were growing up, video games were moreso just for fun. How interesting is it for you to see people make it into a profession?
It is! It’s like me playing tennis. It’s something I’ve done for so long and for those guys, they’ve done it for so long. I think there’s an aspect to it that’s pretty cool, that they’re so good at what they do. I think what they do is unbelievably tough. The time, the mental processing, the time that they have to make decisions, it’s quite impressive.

For me, I play a game for a living also. I play tennis. Maybe it’s more physical, but if I went against them I’d have absolutely no shot.

If you had to pick your three favourite games, what would they be?
The Legend of Zelda. This is actually really tough… It would have to be Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart, one of those two. I would also have to say probably Fortnite. I’ll go Zelda, Mario Kart and Fortnite, even though I think there are a lot of other good ones.

I remember getting the N64. My first games were Zelda and Super Smash Bros. That probably explains it! I also remember getting Xbox for the first time, it was good fun.

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