When last days he said that the ranking marks something very important and very valuable, such as a player’s moment, what he is living, what he is capable of doing and what his level is, he clarified that in tournaments like Roland Garros there is another classification and another virtue that weighs more: hierarchy. That is why I mentioned Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and of course Roger Federer as the tennis players who are in the select group of those who distance themselves from others, who could try to encourage themselves to find a little of that mentioned hierarchy that makes the “different”.
This distance was noticed again in the match that Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman after the effort and sacrifice that he showed in the first three sets, with complex moments, and then prevailed forcefully in the fourth quarter.
The five sets of the Grand Slams are compelling and demanding in depth from anyone who wants to dare to dethrone the king of brick dust. You can’t do it for a little while. That is not merit enough to obtain such an achievement. It has to be for as long as it takes.
Djokovic made it clear to Italian Lorenzo Musetti days ago, when he took him to the fifth set after losing the first two: “I congratulate you, you are up to the task. Now we have to see if you can hold out ”.
This is what happened again in the game between Nadal and Schwartzman, who complicated it from the beginning and played it as equals. With this combination, the Argentinian regains the luxury of also belonging to a hierarchical rank within the tennis classification.
Nadal, tireless and invincible at Roland Garros. Photo MARTIN BUREAU / AFP
Because playing as equals for many moments to those who know this surface and this tournament like no one allowed him to complicate it with strategic clarity and with a very marked level of execution for many moments.
For trying to qualify in some way the scheme that Schwartzman used, we can call it an “aggressive patience”. It is that he knew that at times it was going to be inevitable to be dominated and he had to resist as best he could. But on the other hand he would quickly go out to annoy the Spaniard; in some cases trying to play high balls, changing the speeds and precisely the heights.
Everything to try to prevent Nadal from having the possibility of stringing together and hooking that lethal and unmatched rhythm that even in brick dust often becomes unbearable.
Back to the same. To overcome hierarchical issues, a little more is needed. And Nadal, on top, did not contribute to the cause of Schwartzman. Unlike. It was establishing increasingly difficult parameters for the Argentine, who clearly things were getting very uphill on the court, beyond the fact that in the third set he had the possibility of stretching his advantage.
Schwartzman has the hierarchy, but the greats demand to hold the level for too long. Photo Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
But there are times when the engine is so pushed to the limit that at any moment it can melt. If it is seen in Formula 1, why can’t we see it in a tennis player?
It is true that for Diego Schwartzman it is once again a defeat against Nadal, but these are the defeats that exalt and contribute to continue earning the respect even of the winner, who took a set from him. Because above all else, the Argentine rose to the occasion and because despite the defeat, his hierarchy was clearly manifested.
Rafael Nadal is in the semifinal because he won again as he usually does when his opponent really puts him to the test. Keep on your way to the rendezvous with the story.