Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman led Team Argentina in Sydney at the inaugural ATP Cup. At the 24-team event, they were buoyed by Argentine fans who came to support. Now, one month later, they get to compete at home at the second edition of the Cordoba Open.
“It’s the second city in Argentina [with an ATP Tour event]. That is very important. We have a lot of friends, a lot of people who try to watch tennis,” Schwartzman said. “This is a new tournament for them and they are enjoying last year and this year again. We are here to do well and to try to enjoy it with the people in this amazing city.”
In Sydney, there were plenty of vuvuzelas, drums and other instruments Argentine fans used to cheer on their players. In Cordoba, the atmosphere will certainly be special for the home favourites.
“I think they are the best fans. Here in Argentina it’s very nice,” Schwartzman said. “Here we have a lot of good people. They are the best fans for me and for every Argentine. The people here enjoy a lot to see every sport. When some Argentine is playing, it’s very, very nice for us.”
One year ago, Pella reached his first final of the season in Cordoba, ultimately losing in the championship match against countryman Juan Ignacio Londero. Making that run in front of his home fans gave the lefty, who is seeded second this year, plenty of confidence. Pella broke into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time in August.
“It’s great to play in front of your people, in front of all your country, so I think it’s a good opportunity for all the Argentine players to play [at home], to try to play their best,” Pella said. “Of course to play here in Cordoba is very nice because I did my first final here last year, so I hope to keep playing like this.”
The Cordoba Open is the first clay-court event of the season, which keeps the players in the field on their toes. Schwartzman says preparing for the switch from hard court to clay is key.
“I’m trying to think to be ready with my legs, mentally, physically, everything. I need to be ready because here on clay and with this weather, [it is] very hot, you need to be ready to play two, three hours on clay for three sets,” Schwartzman said. “I think if I am in my 100 per cent, I have a good chance to do well.”
“The beginning of the year was very good for me. Good start in Australia at the ATP Cup. I’m [feeling] very good right now, trying to be at my 100 per cent on clay,” Schwartzman said. “It’s been seven months already without playing on clay. It’s a different way to see every point on court, so I need to have a few days, enjoy here in Argentina and try to do my best and try to play my best tennis.”