Schwartzman is compensating his height deficit by his quality – Eye of the Coach #29

In this latest episode of The Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou singles out Diego Schwartzman as one who could spring a surprise when the men take center stage on Friday.

October 8, 2020
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The figures

In this latest episode of The Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou discussed some of the quarter-final matches on the men’s side and the semi-finalists who will be taking center stage on Friday. In particular, the renowned coach singled out the diminuative Diego Schwartzman as one to watch.

Nadal is the favorite

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is coached by Mouratoglou, won the Wednesday’s first semi-final. The Greek defeated Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 to avenge his loss in the recent Hamburg final.

“I was impressed,” Mouratoglou assured. “I think first of all that it was a difficult match, because Andrey Rublev is dangerous. Stefanos just lost their previous encounter before Roland-Garros. I feel like the first set was key. The end of the first completely made this match switch on Stefanos’ side. If you look at the scored after that, it was 6-2, 6-3. Not that it was easy, but Stefanos started to be more loose and was dominating most of the rallies.

Tsitsipas joined Rafael Nadal and Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals, and soon Novak Djokovic would add his name to the last four. But for Mouratoglou, and probably for many others, Nadal is the favorite. The 12-time champion has not yet lost a set this fortnight and he defeated Jannik Sinner in the quarters.

Rafael Nadal (esp)

“It’s a good court for Rafa,” Mouratoglou assessed. “The bounce is high and it is playing faster. I think Rafa’s performance was really very solid against a young guy who was dangerous, and [Nadal] knew it. Sinner served for the first set and was unable to make it. After that it was quite different. When you play Rafa on clay, which is the ultimate challenge, you have to be extremely aggressive and have to do it with few unforced errors. That risk-taking is never easy, because Rafa brings a lot of balls back and makes you work a lot. Nadal is the favorite. I doubted it at the start of the tournament, but not now.”

The great thing about tennis

Diego Schwartzman is not your prototypical top 10 tennis player. He stands at just 5’7”, but what he lacks in serving he makes up for with incredible speed and clean ball-striking. The Argentine is through to a slam semi-final for the first time in his career after outlasting Dominic Thiem in more than five hours on Tuesday.

“The new norm is tall guys, skinny guys,” Mouratoglou explained. “If you look at most of the top guys, that’s how they are. Why? Their height gives them a big edge in terms of serving abilities, so they have a lot of free points. In the last 10 years, fitness has improved dramatically for tennis players. Those tall guys are able to move extremely fast, which was not the case 20 years ago — when you were that tall, you were slow. Now if you are able to be tall and fast, which is the case, you have the whole package. You have the advantage of the serve and you don’t have the disadvantage of the movement.

“Of course it’s more difficult when you’re short, but it doesn’t mean that you have no chance. And this is what’s great in tennis. I think everyone has a chance if everyone is able to use his qualities and bring them to the top. And that is exactly what Schwartzman is doing. He is short, but he is extremely fast. He has a great eye; he’s able to take the balls early. He is extremely loose so the ball goes off his racket fast. He’s compensating for his height with all of those qualities.”

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