Diego feeling like a competitor again

Former world No.8 clears first qualifying hurdle

Diego Schwartzman, 1er tour, qualifications, Roland-Garros 2024 ©Philippe Montigny / FFT
 - Chris Oddo

Tuesday marked the beginning of what Diego Schwartzman hopes will be a successful run through qualifying and into his 11th consecutive Roland-Garros main draw appearance.

The 31-year-old notched a crowd-pleasing victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, taking out Austria’s Lukas Neumayer, the world No.212, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the second round of the qualifying tournament. 

For the 2020 semi-finalist, who is playing his last Roland-Garros after announcing plans to end his career next February in Buenos Aires, playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd on the tournament’s second-largest showcourt was a pleasant experience. 

“It’s crazy to play on Lenglen, a record of people yesterday for qualies – everyone is enjoying more,” he said. “I think yesterday with many good matches here on Lenglen, and today another good day, it feels very nice.” 


It wasn’t the strongest start for Schwartzman, but he quickly found his footing and reeled in his 21-year-old foe to march to victory in 70 minutes. 

“Being honest, the first two games I was so nervous,” the former world No.8 admitted. “I was not feeling my body – playing good, but it was tough to make good decisions with the game.

“After that I started to play much better, trying to enjoy, trying to smile and enjoy the people no matter if I do well or not. That’s the only way – I played the last few weeks that way and I was playing much better.” 

I want to win as many matches as I can

Schwartzman won 81 percent of his first-serve points (22 of 27) and converted five of seven break points to secure the victory. 

“After the first five or ten minutes I started to play very good tennis, and he didn’t,” he said. “He made a few mistakes, so he helped me to be more comfortable on court in the first set, and the beginning of the second.”

Though he admits that his best playing days are behind him, Schwartzman is relishing the opportunity to compete on the world’s biggest clay-court stage, and the chance to share the love with his legions of fans. 

“It’s amazing for me, playing on Lenglen one more time and to have that feeling that people enjoy my game, even now, people from Argentina and from different parts of the world, here and also in Rome and Barcelona before," he said. "My feeling with the people, it’s amazing. I hope to stay here for many days and have those feelings.” 

The current world No.141 will face either Canada’s Alexis Galarneau or France’s Quentin Halys in the second round of qualifying. 

“I want to play, and I want to win as many matches as I can,” he said. “I'm feeling like a competitor again. The last few months I was not feeling very well on court so I am trying to change that feeling in the next few tournaments.”

Diego Schwartzman, 1er tour, qualifications, Roland-Garros 2024 ©Philippe Montigny / FFT

Bergs seeks breakthrough 

After an extended stay in the US this spring, Belgium’s Zizou Bergs hopes his hard work in the extreme heat of southern Florida will pay off. The world No.102 reached back-to-back Challenger finals on the green clay of Sarasota and Tallahassee last month, coming away with the title in the latter, and now he’s ready to make a push on the crushed red bricks of Europe. 

Knocking on the door of the top 100, 102nd-ranked Bergs took another step in that direction on Tuesday, clearing the first round of qualifying with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 victory over Frenchman Clement Chidekh on Court No.7. 

Bergs has won 13 of his 17 matches across all levels on clay this spring, and he took Rafael Nadal to three sets in the Rome Masters after qualifying for the main draw. 

Clay may not be his jazz, but the Belgian hasn’t skipped a beat in his quest to become a better player on all surfaces. 

“I would actually say it’s my least favourite surface, but I’m pretty all-around,” said Bergs, who will face fellow Belgian Joris De Loore in the next round. “I think that’s a little bit of an advantage that I have – on any surface I can play well.” 

Zizou Bergs, qualifying first round, Roland-Garros 2024Clement Mahoudeau / FFT

The 24-year-old only has nine ATP wins to his name, but he’s starting to feel as if he’s on the cusp of a breakthrough, having experienced tough losses in the past year against the likes of Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Ben Shelton and Andrey Rublev. 

“It’s great to be knocking on the door all the time,” he said. “I just feel like once it clicks against these big players it could change my career.” 

Is he starting to get impatient, wondering when – if ever – his breakthrough will come? 

“It’s not frustrating at all,” he said. “I’m enjoying this life so much. I’m enjoying the tour, enjoying travelling, enjoying playing the big tournaments in the world. But I also enjoy just playing tennis and getting my coffee afterwards. 

“I really appreciate the tennis life, so it’s not frustrating. I just try to keep that energy going because I know that energy is something that fuels me to be consistent and when the time is right I will beat the big players as well.” 

J.J Wolf, premier tour qualifications - Roland-Garros 2024©Loïc Wacziak / FFT

French in force

It was smooth sailing early on Tuesday for the French men as Quentin Halys, Gregoire Barrere, Maxime Janvier and Titouan Droguet all advanced to the second round of qualifying in straight sets.

American second seed J.J. Wolf also came through, setting a second-round clash with compatriot Patrick Kypson by defeating Great Britain's Ryan Peniston 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2.