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Five Minutes With... Diego Schwartzman: A first trip to Israel, trying wheelchair tennis and quality family time
The Argentine hit with Noam Gershony at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open and wants maté on the beach with his crew ahead of Thursday's opener.
Published Sep 28, 2022
VIDEO COURTESY: Tel Aviv Watergen Open
TEL AVIV—When the Tel Aviv Watergen Open was announced as one of six new tournaments added to the ATP calendar, it naturally became a tour stop Diego Schwartzman wanted to work in his schedule. Unlike most of his immediate family, Schwartzman—who is Jewish—had never been to Israel.
He arrived at the ATP 250 event after being a member of Team World’s Laver Cup winning squad in London. Baseline caught up with the Argentine to learn more about his exciting week ahead and the opportunity Tuesday to hit with 2012 Paralympic men’s singles quad gold medalist Noam Gershony.
This is one of the most unique swing of events you will probably play in your career. Talk a little bit about coming from Roger’s retirement sendoff, winning Laver Cup with your teammates and heading to Israel for the first time?
SCHWARTZMAN: To be honest, maybe it's the things that people just watching on TV don't know about. It's all the different weeks we have during the year, changing the tournaments, changing the events and you have to be ready for all of this. After Sunday, we get on the plane with you on Monday morning, without almost any sleep. Yesterday I was here, hitting in a little bit of different conditions and different places. I was very happy and it was an honor to be in the Laver Cup just because of what happened with Roger on Friday and obviously because our team won. Now, I have to forget all about that and be ready for the next match on Thursday.
After It was revealed that Tel Aviv would come into play on the fall schedule, did it immediately become a priority to play here and share a new experience with your family?
SCHWARTZMAN: When I decided to play this week, it was my first choice because I have never been here. It's special for me to be here and it was also important for many people who know me to come here and everything.
It's about being here with my family. They don't have the chance because of their work to travel with me to many places. Laver Cup was a good moment for them to share with me the last few years. They came all together and after I decided to come here after the Laver Cup, it was nice to have them. I think for us, family and friends are very important and also how we take care of our things in the cities, walking around and having our routines in different cities becomes very important every week to have a good level.
You had an opportunity to hit with a Paralympic gold medalist.
How was it meeting Noam Gershony and trying out wheelchair tennis?
SCHWARTZMAN: It was very nice. I don't know how they do it. It's very, very tough to move around the court. We have a former No. 1 with Gustavo Fernandez, so I know about the sport and how difficult it is in the wheelchair. I saw many matches the last few years from him, so I was trying at the end hitting with (Noam) here to try to move a little bit, but it was impossible. I think at the end, you understand how difficult it is to move and what they do. It's very special.
As a Top 4 seed here, you have the luxury of a bye to start. Will you take a day to see the city before your tournament kicks off?
SCHWARTZMAN: I was almost dying, without sleep on Sunday coming here, but we went for a walk and had dinner. Maybe I will go to the beach with my maté, the Argentinian drink, to enjoy the sunset and then have dinner in a different small town around Tel Aviv. I think it's the only chance I have during the afternoon and night to visit different places and I will do that.
Playing at an event that's special to you, are you maybe looking at this as an opportunity to get some momentum going?
SCHWARTZMAN: I hope so. The last two months, I was not playing my best, but the last few tournaments on ATP Tour in the U.S., I improved my level. I want to keep improving my level and try to do much better, for sure. The Laver Cup was unbelievable and it was great for me, so maybe I got the confidence from there.