Diego Schwartzman has missed competing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has made the most of his free time by supporting his community.
Former NBA star and fellow Argentine Manu Ginobli reached out to him about helping with Seamos Uno, a charity initiative aiming to raise funds to assemble food and hygiene boxes for families in need in the Buenos Aires suburbs, and Schwartzman was happy to do his part.
“When Manu told me about the project… I did not hesitate to help,” Schwartzman said. “It is minimal next to what the 450 volunteers [are doing].”
Anyone who donates at least US $15 — enough to supply a box of supplies for those in need — will be entered for a chance to win a ‘Unique Encounter’, giving chosen donors an opportunity to participate in a virtual chat with one of many Argentine celebrities participating, including Schwartzman. From 26 June, 20 winners will be drawn weekly to participate in one of the Zoom calls.
“The goal is to have more than one million boxes for the people who don’t have money to take care of eating, food, their healthcare conditions… It’s very important,” Schwartzman said. “Everyone in every single place is trying to help all these people here in Argentina.”
Schwartzman has supported several charitable initiatives during the ATP Tour’s suspension. The Argentine helped organise #LaChamplay, a celebrity FIFA 20 competition to raise money for Red Cross Argentina. He also participated in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, a tennis video game tournament that also raised money for charity.
“All these charity events on TV, on eSports, every place, it’s very helpful. Too many people in South America, in Argentina, have many problems. [It’s] not just health problems, but many have food problems as well, economic problems, so we are trying to help,” Schwartzman said. “It’s very, very important to help all these people who are not in the best situation in these moments.”
Schwartzman injured his groin at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. He was looking forward to a return at the BNP Paribas Open, which was suspended do to coronavirus concerns.
“I was out many weeks. When I was going back to [California] to play Indian Wells, the ATP suspended the tournament, so I came back to Argentina and since then I haven’t moved,” Schwartzman said. “I really, really miss the Tour, many of the guys, many friends. I hope to play in August again and be ready for that moment.”
The ATP Tour is set to resume on 14 August with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. Schwartzman knows whom he doesn’t want to see across the net when back on court.
“I don’t want to face Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. Federer is not going to play but for sure [I don’t want to face] Nadal on clay in Paris,” Schwartzman said. “We are not going to play many tournaments, but [they will be] big tournaments, so playing against the big [players] I think is not going to be the best.
“I’m looking forward to play every single tournament. Missing the Tour since March, it’s too many months outside the courts. I want to play… It’s very, very important to have good practice, good training these months and be ready for that moment. I just want to be there, be healthy, and be ready for the matches.”