Diego Schwartzman booked another trip to the quarterfinals of the French Open. The Argentine beat Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets to advance to the last eight at Roland Garros for the second consecutive year.
The 28-year-old was delighted to progress but the irony of coming up against 13-time champion Rafael Nadal once again was not lost on him. Schwartzman was not too happy to be facing the player he lost to last year but admitted that the match against the Spaniard requires a special mindset.
"I think at the beginning of every match against Rafa, you have to walk on the court thinking [about] winning the match, to have opportunities, to get opportunities," Schwartzman said, as quoted on the ATP Tour website. "[It is important to] think about something else and not think about Rafa [being] on the other side of the net."
Schwartzman does not have the best record against the former world number one. Nadal has a 10-1 head-to-head record against the Argentine and the latter is aware that he will have to play at a very high level if he wants to make any dent in the Spaniard's game.
"I think it's very important not just for me, just also for Rafa when the opponent starts with good tennis, the match is going to [go] a different way," Schwartzman added. "It's always tough. But at the end it's Rafa and you never know what is going to happen, and everyone knows that it's going to be very difficult."
The world number 10's only win against Nadal, which he labelled the biggest of his career, came at the Italian Open in Rome in 2020. Just two weeks later he was at the losing end of a straight-sets mauling from Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open.
Schwartzman was keen to enjoy his win over Struff before focusing on his upcoming clash with Nadal. He believes it's a good opportunity to play the "King of Clay" as it gives him a good idea of the level he is at.
"Playing against Rafa in these kinds of tournaments, it's always a good time to know how good are you playing. It's always a good challenge," the Argentine said. "I know we played two times here [and they] were good matches, and now let's see what happens."