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"I've not seen the draw, so I have no idea who is in my part, I think Rafael Nadal is in the bottom part" - Diego Schwartzman

Diego Schwartzman (inset) and Rafael Nadal
Diego Schwartzman (inset) and Rafael Nadal
Aayush Majumdar

Diego Schwartzman has taken a unique approach to his French Open campaign this year by not seeing the draw beforehand. He is well aware that 13-time champion Rafael Nadal is not in his quarter of the men's singles draw, but he could still face the Spaniard in the semifinals.

At last year's French Open, Schwartzman joked about facing Nadal too many times in the Spaniard's most successful tournament. Regarded as one of the best hustlers on the tour, the World No. 16 has faced Nadal thrice in the last four editions of Roland Garros, twice in the quarterfinals.

While he will not face Nadal as early as the quarterfinals this time around, Novak Djokovic is in his quarter of the draw, and they could face off in the Round of 16.

The 16th seed began his campaign in Paris with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Andrey Kuznetsov. Speaking in his post-match presser, he revealed his decision not to look at the draw beforehand, even jokingly urging the journalists present not to tell him anything about it.

"You know, I've not seen the draw, so I have no idea who is in my part of the draw. But here you have the best players too, so every single match it's a very tough one," said Schwartzman, when asked about the draw.
"I think Rafa it's in the bottom part of the draw, so no Rafa. But I'm not sure. So I'm not sure if he's close to me or not," he added.
Big fight ๐ŸฅŠ@dieschwartzman navigates past Kuznetsov 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2#RolandGarros https://t.co/ey9LTBCHGW

Despite not knowing which players he could potentially face in the latter stages of the tournament, Schwartzman is confident he has the skills and mental fortitude to get the job done against any player.

"I'm always have confidence, you know. If I feeling okay on court, for me it's the first step to beat the best players in the world and on tennis right now," he said.

Having said that, he admitted that there is still a lot of work to be done to get to the level he needs to be able to beat the best players on tour.

"I have to improve obviously, because today I think I did regular match, you know, but to beat the best guys on tour, I have to improve too many things. Let's see what happen on second round against Munar, and then obviously if I win the next match, I have another opportunity to improve," the 29-year-old opined.
The point of the match. This was incredible play from both Schwartzman and Nadalhttps://t.co/O9fd75slJr #RolandGarros

Explaining his decision not to look at his side of the draw, Schwartzman said that he prefers to take the tournament one match at a time and not be pressured by the prospect of facing a particular player.

"I prefer to just go step by step. On Grand Slam I prefer to do that, you know. Too many matches and five-sets matches. If you start to think who is the next one and you are not even play the first set, is difficult. So I prefer to do that," he said.

Can Diego Schwartzman beat the best players at the 2022 French Open?

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 2022 - Day Two
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 2022 - Day Two

Diego Schwartzman's biggest challenge at the 2022 French Open could come against Novak Djokovic in the fourth round. He is yet to win a match against the World No. 1, having lost six times in the past, thrice at a Grand Slam. However, one of those matches was at the French Open in 2017, when the Argentine stretched Djokovic to five sets.

The World No. 16 is known to trouble opponents with his ability to dig deep, play long rallies from the baseline, and not give away easy points. That style of play helped him beat Nadal at the 2020 Rome Masters.

Schwartzman, on his day, can certainly cause a lot of trouble for the big players. This might be the fortnight where he finally opens his account against Djokovic and posts his second win against Nadal.


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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