Schwartzman vs Anderson
The story of David and Goliath teaches us a lesson about facing giant problems and impossible situations. David, the diminutive teenage shepherd, faced and defeated Goliath, a nine-feet tall Philistine warrior.
Diego Schwartzman, whose nickname is El Peque (an abbreviation of the word "pequeño", meaning "Shorty" in Spanish), is the shortest player in professional tennis, standing at 1.66 meters (5 ft 5 ½ in).
In the 4th round of this week’s French Open in Roland Garros, world no. 12 Schwartzman came back from two sets to love to beat world no. 7 Kevin Anderson who stands at 2.03 meters (6 ft 8 in), a full 37 centimeters (1 ft 3 in) taller!
In the quarterfinals, Schwartzman then became the first man to take a set off 10-time champion Rafael Nadal since 2015, winning the first set 6-4.
This is heady territory for a man whose diminutive stature makes him look more like a ballboy than a professional. In tennis, as in most sports, size matters. Schwartzman can take some solace from the fact that bigger is not always better.
Although he hits the lowest share of aces (2.5%) in the tour and wins the lowest share of service games (63%) of any top-50 player, he compensates for this with deadly returning.
In fact, so potent is El Peque in rallies that coming into the French Open, he had won 44% of his return points, better than anyone else on tour, and just ahead of the fearsome trio of Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic. Against first serves, he is third best; facing second serves, he once again leads the pack. He also ranks in the top four—with the same fearsome trio —in return games won.