Diego punches ticket to last 16, not yet to Stade de France

Argentine downs Dimitrov to advance at Roland-Garros and makes plea for an invite to Champions League final

Diego Schwartzman, Roland-Garros 2022, Simple Messieurs, 3eme TourPhilippe Montigny / FFT
 - Simon Cambers

Watching a Diego Schwartzman match in the middle of a Grand Slam can be more like football than tennis, a colourful, carnival atmosphere with noisy, sometimes wild celebrations and songs to match.

The Argentinian reached the fourth round of Roland-Garros for the third straight year on Friday, a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov his best performance of the week to date.

He will soon turn his attention to a clash with defending champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday but first, the 15th seed is looking forward to his other love, football, and specifically Saturday’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, which is also being played in Paris.

“A chance to ask who have tickets for me,” he said to the reporters gathered in the press conference, with a smile.

"So Roland-Garros, please ask for tickets for tomorrow. I know you can do it. President of Roland-Garros, president of the Federation. I can go alone, eh? It's okay," quipped the affable Argentine.

A Boca Juniors fan, Schwartzman said he expected the Real Madrid-Liverpool final to be a good match and said many of the players at Roland-Garros will also be watching.

Diego Schwartzman, 3e tour, Roland-Garros 2022 ©Rémy Chautard / FFT

“I love football,” he said. “I love to watch these kind of matches. These past few days I was following just my team, Boca Juniors. We won the league in Argentina. We won yesterday. So we went through in the Copa Libertadores.

"So now it's time to Champions League. It's going to be a great match. Everyone who is here is not from Liverpool or Real Madrid. We are going to enjoy. One more time, if you have any tickets, I will be there tomorrow.”

Schwartzman is always a favourite with the fans, who appreciate his never-say-die attitude. And and he loves them back.

“It’s great to have this atmosphere after a few years without people in the stands,” he told the crowd after a match on Court Simonne-Mathieu in which the sound reverberated around the stadium.

“I love Paris. I think it’s the best city of the world. I’m always happy to be back, a lot of good memories, I did the semi-final, I lost against Rafa I don’t know how many times (but) I’m enjoying every free day I have. I think that’s very important for the match and you can see how I feel about Paris."

A semi-finalist two years ago and quarter-finalist last year, Schwartzman dominated Dimitrov from the start.

The match point encapsulated the whole affair, Dimitrov hitting four or five shots he might have expected to be winners, only to see Schwartzman get them back, with interest and then fire a brilliant pass to clinch victory.

“I'm happy to go through today,” he said.” It was a very difficult match against Grigor. I was very focused, two hours or more, I don't know how long I played.

“But I was totally focused, not thinking how he was doing today or how many mistakes he was doing. I was just focused how to play and how to beat him today. Everything was great.”

Diego Schwartzman, Roland Garros 2022, third round© Remy Chautard/FFT

And he also brings colour to the court in another way, with his bright fuchsia shirt making him stand out even more.

“I think Fila is doing great with the clothing,” he said. “The last few years the colours are improving, and I really like. I think it's always important to feel great with the brand you are walking on court with, so I think they are doing great.

“My tennis this week, it was great so far. Let's see if the pink colours are ready for the round of 16 now.”

And if he does find a ticket for the Stade de France on Saturday night, who wins?

“Real Madrid was losing all these last few matches, and they have, you know, something, and they are coming back, so difficult to say,” Schwartzman said.