Peque: ‘It was spectacular to win the Olympia with Messi’

The year is ending and it is usual to take stock of the 300-odd days that have already passed from 2021 and in the last and hottest days. It was a season still affected by the pandemic and with ups and downs, of which Diego Schwartzman drew a summary with Olé. The Peque, No. 13 in the world, as he faces the season for a 2022 tennis player that starts in a few days for him, he analyzed.

-What balance do you make of this year?

-It was very good. Perhaps I had a more irregular moment, more with myself than reality said. Sometimes, when you have high goals or want to continue growing and climb in the ranking, you set certain goals and, when in two, three weeks you do not win the games you plan to win and that you want to expect, it becomes a bit complicated. Then the second half of the year was one of the best of my career, because I won many games, I settled down, I was physically fresh, healthy. It happened that the protocols worldwide were relaxed and that there was an audience, and we were able to go for a walk and be distracted a bit and not be locked in, that helped us compete much better.

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-You won the 2020 Gold Olympia. What left you and that Messi was the one from 2021 in the same installment?

-That was nice, I saw it in Olé as they put it and I uploaded it to the networks. And the best of having won: Messi and I were there, it was spectacular (ndr. Peque won the 2020 and Leo, the 2021). Winning the award for the best athlete of the year was complicated because many could not compete 100%, there are sports that did not even compete. It speaks a bit about the perseverance that not only tennis had, but each one of us making the effort of being locked up for three months. Ending the year that way and winning the award gives you energy and nourishes you.

-How do you prepare for what is coming? Are you aiming for Australia and the Argentina Open?

-Australia is a place where I like to compete, and I usually do well. I like the conditions. I feel comfortable at the Grand Slam, and despite the fact that one comes quickly from the preseason and with a lot of training on top and few games, it is a place where I feel comfortable. Later, the tour of South America, of the four titles that I have, two were here: Rio and Córdoba. I also made the final in Buenos Aires. That is always in your head, and the places where you feel comfortable in your head help you come back every year to compete well. Hopefully I can repeat one more year.

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-How do you handle the pressure of being among the best in the world? What did you think when you came out of the Top 10 and how do you do to stay in the Top 20?

-The theme of the Top 10 is one or two games … There are two games in the year. The difference is that. Instead of losing in the quarterfinals, go semi; and instead of quarterfinals of a Masters 1000, do semi or final. That was what I did in 2020 and it took me to the Top 10. It is the difference in points that one has to give and it is a leap in quality that there are few games. The fact of staying I already have it in my head and it is part of what we want to do, almost without talking about it with my team. I want to compete because I have been doing it since 2017 and I am confident that I can do it again. I have to be healthy, 100% in tournaments; I know that that way I can win a lot of games and still be up there.

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-What does it mean for you to be the reference of the ATP of Buenos Aires, a tournament that you are going to play in February?

-I have been part of the tournament since I was very young. It was a big part of my growth. Coming back here, to my house, is the most beautiful tournament there is. That the ATP can be played there (NdeR: Lawn Tennis central) is very nice because it represents a lot for all tennis players. Hopefully I can continue to do well. For me, and to enter the field and for people who normally cannot do it in the year and who cannot be, can see me, it is very nice. If it can grow later, it will be spectacular. Enjoy every game, and hopefully I can do very well next year.

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-Is it an extra motivation that this 2022 edition is going to have as many audiences as possible?

-It was a shame to see the stands almost empty last edition, and it coincided that the best year of my career was without an audience on the courts. This year I was able to enjoy it a little more when people were returning globally, with the capacity. That it is possible to win games again with a full stadium and now with the possibility that (Juan Martín) Del Potro may be there, if the physicist helps him, it is going to infect people a lot to be able to go.

-In parallel this year the women’s Open was organized, what did you think?

-Spectacular. It is something that has to start growing, with people who want to invest, too. Undoubtedly, that will infect teenagers, the younger girls who may start to see tennis with another face and reappear. Hopefully we can continue to grow in the women’s tournament, but not only in Argentina, but also in the region.

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Peque: ‘It was spectacular to win the Olympia with Messi’

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