Beating 'Big Three' at slams tougher, says Schwartzman
PARIS (Reuters) - The win against the "Big Three" of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Grand Slams is far more difficult than in three sets, said the Argentine Diego Schwartzman after his defeat in the semi-finals of the French Open on Friday.
The 28-year-old came to Paris after beating Nadal 6: 2, 7: 5 in the Rome Masters quarter-finals, but went against the 12-time French Open champion 6: 3, 6: 3, 7: 6 (0) back in his first appearance in the last four of a Grand Slam.
"It's different to play against Djokovic, Federer, Rafa and these guys. It's not easy to play them in five sets because you have to play your best tennis for maybe three, four hours, five hours. It's not easy . It's not easy, "he told reporters.
"It's very hard physically. It's very hard mentally. To improve and beat the best guys on tour, you have to play them and you have to beat them. I like to play five sets. I feel really good today. Physically I was perfect.
"But yeah, it's difficult to keep the level really high against these guys for maybe more than three hours."
Together, the Big Three have won 56 majors, the only tournaments still played in the best-of-five set format. The US Open victory of Austrian Dominic Thiem last month ended a run of 13 Grand Slam titles in a row for her.
Schwartzman, who will get into the top 10 when the rankings are updated on Monday, would not be included in the debate about who was the best men's player of all time among Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.
"I won't tell who is better," he said with a smile. "But I can say the best thing about these three guys is how different these guys are on and off the pitch. They are really different.
"One likes to play on sand, the other on grass ... You know, they are different. Also one on the left, the other aggressive, the other slides like nobody else.
"For me it's best to play with these guys. I enjoy it very much because I can currently play against these three guys in different tournaments, so I really enjoy seeing these guys on tour and playing against them. "
Against Nadal on Friday, Schwartzman had 12 break points but could only convert three and he felt the Spaniard raise his level every time he put pressure on him.
"Rafa is Rafa. I think he knows how to improve. He knows how to practice, how to do everything," said Schwartzman.
"He's going straight to training in Rome. He improved the things he did badly in Rome. That's why he's in the final right now."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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