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Born nine years and an ocean apart, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Italy’s Jannik Sinner will converge on the courts of the Western & Southern Open as they look to celebrate their birthdays with match wins.

But don’t be fooled by their generational gap—as Schwartzman is turning 30 while Sinner is celebrating 21—because these two have more in common than just an August 16th birthday.

For example, these Leos both picked up a tennis racquet at the age of seven, and they both grew up with their childhood revolving around a completely different sport.

Diego, named after Argentina’s national soccer legend Diego Maradona, was passionate about soccer as a child. The Buenos Aires native even trained at Club Social Parque, one of the top soccer academies in the country, between the ages of eight and 10.


But the call of tennis was too strong. Schwartzman, who stands at 5’7”, followed in the footsteps of his 5’5” namesake, and turned himself into a towering figure in tennis instead—peaking at world No. 8 in 2020.

Sinner, born in the village of San Candido in northern Italy, grew up on the ski slopes. He was one of Italy’s top champions in his age group from eight to 12, but once he picked up a racquet and gave tennis a try, there was no looking back.


"In skiing, you have to go down a hill for maybe 90 seconds, and if you make one mistake then it’s over," he told press. "In tennis, you can play two hours, make many mistakes and still win the match."

Thankfully for tennis fans, both Schwartzman and Sinner chose to hit a fuzzy yellow ball as a career. Now, they each sit at the vanguard of a wave of national talent: 30-year-old Schwartzman is Argentina’s top player at world No. 16, while 21-year-old Sinner is the Italian No. 1, ranked world No. 12.

Another thing they both have in common? They’re looking to get back into the Top 10, targeting a strong result in Cincinnati to get their 2022 seasons back on track.

Schwartzman started off strong with back-to-back ATP finals in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, but hasn’t posted a breakout result since the end of the European clay court season. And Sinner, after reaching six quarterfinals this year—including Australian Open and Wimbledon—finally broke through on his seventh, going on to win his first title of the season in Umag.

In Cincinnati, the 10th seeded Italian rang in his big day by taking down Thanasi Kokkinakis in a three set thriller, 6-7 (9), 6-4, 7-6 (6), while No. 13 seed Schwartzman may sneak in a celebration before he takes on Aslan Karatsev later today.