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Gamers: Schwartzman On Owning An E-Sports Team, His Favourite Games & More

Argentine reflects on the rise of E-Sports

Did you know that Diego Schwartzman has his own E-Sports team?

Off the court, the Argentine star spends a lot of time trying to improve Stone Movistar and give the team's players the best opportunity to succeed. ATPTour.com caught up with Schwartzman to discuss that, how he views the E-Sports boom, the games he enjoys most and more.

What do you remember about growing up with video games?
Since I’m young, video games have improved a lot. I’m the generation that was already born with many video games and I think in the past 10, 15 years, the guys who made that happen have improved them in a crazy way. It’s so good.

What do you remember of some of the early games you played?
At the beginning we played Pro Evolution Soccer, it was the best. But now FIFA, it’s much better. I’m the guy who started with PlayStation, PlayStation 2 with football matches against people at home, friends, or playing at my friends’ houses. You have a good show on Netflix, a documentary about video games. High Score, it’s very good.

How much do you travel around with a console on Tour?
Right now, a little bit less. I’m not playing much. I have an E-Sports team, Stone Movistar, so I’m involved with that and trying to be a mentor. I’m not playing much, but I’m trying to help guys who want to be professionals in video games, I want to try to make that happen [for them].

How did you get involved with your team?
We started two-and-a-half years ago with the idea. We have a new league in Argentina playing a few different video games. In Argentina, it’s starting in a slow way. The guys who had the league came to us and asked if we wanted a spot there.

We started with my brother and a few more people trying to figure out if we wanted to do that and we started, in a slow way as well. Every month we’re improving, every month we’re trying to build the team. Right now we have a big team, a big place, big gaming house. Everything is so nice right now. We have big sponsors in Argentina and I think all the video games and all that is around them is improving and trying to go for the next step in South America.

What are the biggest games your team plays?
We have Fortnite, FIFA, League of Legends, Free Fire, Counter-Strike, Valorant, we have a partnership with a Free Fire team from Chile, Mineros, right now they are first in the league in South America. We are trying to have many games, many guys playing the games. It’s step by step.

If you were to play any of the players in any of these games, how would that go?
I’d have no chance. No chance. They are professionals! I’m an amateur. It’s the same as tennis. If some amateur comes, they don’t have any chance [against me]. We don’t have any chance against them. They practise all day, they are focused, they are trying to be better every day. They are improving every day. It’s a different game [for them]. It’s the same name of the game, but a different way to play.

You’re an athlete of course and you’ve been training your whole life to do what you do. How much respect do you have for all of these E-Sports athletes?
E-Sports, I think they’re trying to be the new sports in all ways. They are trying to be there at the big events and I know the guys we have [playing] all the video games, they are trying to improve. They are practising all day, they are watching matches from their opponents, they have a coach, they have a trainer. They have everything to try to improve.

It’s good and that’s why it’s very similar to sports. If you want to do better in video games, you have to be there practising, focusing, not just playing. And not just when you are in the office.

Have you played games with some of the players on Tour?
Many players on Tour are playing, and for many hours more than me. Federico Coria, Guido Pella, they are traveling with their PlayStation, with a Nintendo, with their computer to play games. They have all this stuff with them all the weeks and they play much better than me. But sometimes I play against them.

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In the past did you travel with your PlayStation more?
Yes, but right now I have many things to do, so I want to relax, but in a different way. Now I have a team, so I prefer not to play, but to maybe watch my players play. That time I sometimes use Twitch watching the league, watching the players, watching the teams. It's very nice work right now.

Do you like watching some of the content creators and people on Twitch?
Yes. I’m watching a lot because we are trying not just to be a video game team, an E-Sports team. We want to have content creators and guys who make content for the team and people who are following us.

During the lockdown at the start of the pandemic you had more time. Did you play more games then to take up time?
Yes. During the pandemic I was playing with my friends 11-on-11 in FIFA. Everyone was online. All the countries have a league so we were playing each other. I also did a benefit event, ChamPlay, it was very nice. I did it with [football player] Paulo Dybala and many players throughout the world.

If you had to pick your three favourite games, what would they be?
Age of Empires. When I was young, everyone was playing it. Then FIFA and maybe Call of Duty. Maybe also God of War. I think FIFA is my favourite by far and then I play the rest.

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