Diego Schwartzman produced arguably the best performance of his career by reaching the Italian Open final last week, where he went down to Novak Djokovic. That was his first ever Masters final, and the run also brought him the closest he's ever been to breaking into the top 10.
Before the final, Diego Schwartzman had said that he had two goals - one was to win his first Masters Series title, and the other was to break into the top 10. While he fell short of achieving those goals as he couldn't get past the World No. 1, Schwartzman was not dejected at the loss. In fact, he is now looking ahead to achieving bigger things in the tennis world.
Schwartzman, who is a combined 1-18 against the Big 3 in men's tennis - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - has been one of the most consistent performers on tour in recent years. He has consistently been a top 30 player since he first broke that barrier on 11 September 2017, and has been ranked between 13 and 16 over the last one year.
The Argentine now believes that he needs to perform consistently well and reach the latter rounds in order to improve his ranking further (his highest ranking has been No. 11).
“I broke another barrier. Getting to a Masters 1000 final is a joy for me. I feel like I've grown up. To continue improving the ranking, I have to win in the quarterfinals and semifinals of these tournaments," Schwartzman said in an interview with ESPN after his loss to Novak Djokovic.
"If I want to take another step, I have to repeat weeks like these and feel confident to do it. The affection that I received still surprises me. I am a simple tennis player and it is an immense joy that so many people like what I do," the Argentine added.
They (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) have been winning all the tournaments for many years: Schwartzman
Prior to Dominic Thiem winning the US Open earlier this month, the 13 previous Grand Slams had been won by either Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. In fact, since 2006, only nine Grand Slam titles have been won by a player outside of the Big 3.
Schwartzman went on to say that he wants to put himself in position to win the big titles when the opportunity arises in the coming years.
"They (the Big 3) have been winning all the tournaments for many years. As the years go by, there may come a time when when their level may drop a bit, where we (the other players) will have more opportunities. I hope to be on that list and my goal is to be prepared," he said.