Diego Schwartzman says playing the ATP Finals gave him a lot of motivation.
The 28-year-old Argentine qualified for the elite eight-player field for the first time, and said he enjoyed it even though he went 0-3 in round-robin competition against Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and eventual champion Daniil Medvedev.
"I think watching this tournament, against the players I played and where I am right now, I think that means a lot for me," Schwartzman told press following his exit.
Schwartzman got as high as No. 8 this season—he's currently No. 9—under the adjusted ranking system by reaching the Roland Garros semifinals, along with the final of Rome. The accomplishment may have been even bigger given the three-month lockdown his country experienced, which prevented him from training and affected his fitness.
But playing three other Top 10 players during that week left him wanting to get even better.
"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 again. But to be here again I have to do better," he said.
"I won the chance to be here in many tournaments since a few years ago. But also I see this week that I have to keep improving, because if not, being here against these guys, it's going to be really tough."
Medvedev, who went 0-3 at the ATP Finals a year ago, said Schwartzman is doing just that.
"Diego had an amazing season. Of course we know that clay is his favorite surface, and this year actually, we didn't have so many clay tournaments, and he delivered on them, a final of a Masters, semifinal of a Grand Slam. That's why he qualified here of course," said Medvedev, who defeated Schwartzman in their round-robin meeting.
"But we know he's capable of playing on all the surfaces, also. Can make great wins. So, yeah, really happy for him, for his season, honestly. He's a great guy, and happy to see him here."
The experience Schwartzman got at the event might also help. It followed a good indoor showing that included the final of Cologne and the quarterfinals in Paris.
"I think, yeah, I have to learn about this tournament. It's everything, it's new—when you're in quarterfinal, then semifinal, final, you play against the best guys on tour, but you have already a few matches in the back. Right now it's different because it's [from] the first match," he said.
" I think most of the guys who are here, the best surface that they play is here, indoor courts.
"Indoor courts against the best, I have to keep improving if I want to win."