Rome Masters 1000: Etcheverry and a dream clash with Djokovic to cut points in his peculiar head-to-head

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Thomas Etcheverry he will face one of the greatest challenges a tennis player can face this Friday: he will have to face Novak Djokovic, world number one, winner of 22 Grand Slams and one of the best rackets of all time. The man from La Plata, 61st in the standings, and the Serbian will clash -not before 2pm in our country- for the second round of the Rome Masters 1000in which Freight defends the title won last year. The Argentine knows that the challenge will be enormous, but he has already warned that he will come out to fight and, above all, to enjoy a match that he has been waiting for for some time.

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Playing with Djokovic is a dream come true. It was something I always wanted…I really wanted to be able to play against him sometime. I’ve been following him since I was very young. I was born and raised watching him play and win. Since I first grabbed a racket, it was already at the top,” he said with a laugh in a chat with ATP extension. com.

“When I take the field I’ll be in front of one of the best in history… but I’ll go out to give my all, I will try to disrespect that and encourage myself to go for everything. And go out to win. It caught me in a very good tennis moment, the best of my career, so that makes it even more special and it’s something positive. I will have a lot of fun and try to focus on myself,” he added.

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Etcheverry celebrating his first ATP point in October 2016. Photo Twitter

Etcheverry celebrating his first ATP point in October 2016. Photo Twitter

Djokovic isn’t just an idol for Etcheverry. It is the yardstick by which the player from La Plata has been measuring his evolution for years. It’s when he got his first ATP point, at the age of 17 and after beating the Peruvian in the first round of the ITF in Salinas Andre Ku Meza in October 2016 Serbian was already number one.

Tommy, who started as a race and was fired in the second round, celebrated that victory in a special way. On a sheet he wrote “Novak Djokovic 12,900 points; Tomás Etcheverry 1 point. 12,899 to go” and a picture was taken, which some time later appeared on social networks.

“My coach at the time, Luciano Cabeiro, had the idea of ​​doing it… to motivate me. It was something original. We laughed a lot,” the Argentine recalled. “When I hit the Top 100 I did it again, it was worth it.”

That second postcard arrived in April of last year. After playing the final of Mexico City Challengerwhich he lost to the Swiss Marc Andrea Huesler, Etcheverry jumped from 106th to 95th place and entered the top 100 for the first time. And the same celebration came out: “Novak Djokovic 8,420, Tomás Etcheverry 714. 7,760 to go”. “I’m getting closer, Nole,” he wrote on Instagram along with the photo and emoji of a laughing face.

The curious celebrations from La Plata reached Djokovic, who this Thursday, in an interview with the press in Rome, laughed: “I’ve seen your posts reduce the difference in points between us. He has the possibility of reducing the difference tomorrow” .

“It’s a good story. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him or see him play much. He’s a young player, new to the tour. But he seems like a very nice guy. Argentinian and Argentina has a great tennis tradition that goes back to many years ago. I wish him well except tomorrow night,” added the number one, amused.

The duel will, of course, be the first between the two. Despite the first meeting Last year they met at Roland Garros and the Argentine was encouraged to ask Nole for a photo, which he shared on Instagram.

Etcheverry comes from the defeat of the French 7-6 (9-7) and 6-3 Luca Van Asche85th in the standings, in what was his absolute debut in the tournament played at the Foro Italico and which is the last important stage before Roland Garros.

The man from La Plata, who reached his first ATP final this year on the slow courts of Santiago de Chile and Houston, will try to beat Djokovic to access the third round of a Masters 1000 for the first time. In his previous three participations at this level, throughout this season, add one defeat in the first round (Indian Wells) and two in the second (Miami and Madrid).

Djokovic, seeded and free in the first round, will try to take the first step to defend his title and reach the French Grand Slam in the best possible way. The Serbian missed the Masters 1000 in Madrid last week with a sore right elbow, but arrived in the Italian capital fully recovered and has been training in excellent form over the last few days.

It will be a special tournament for Nole, who already knows that next Monday he will lose the first place in the standings at the hands of Carlos Alcaraz.

He has to defend 1,000 points and at best will keep the 6,775 he has today. And the Spaniard, who puts nothing at stake and with the title won on Sunday in magic box He was five from the advantage, he will only overcome it by jumping on the pitch and collecting the 10 that the match gives to those who play the initial round.

Etcheverry and Djokovic at Roland Garros 2022. Instagram photo @tomasetcheverry123

Etcheverry and Djokovic at Roland Garros 2022. Instagram photo @tomasetcheverry123

Etcheverry won’t be the only Argentinian on the pitch this Friday. He will make his debut in the first round Francis Cerundolo, seeded 24th. The porteño starts his way in the tournament -from 6 in our country- against the Chinese Yib Wu57th, who won in the first instance 3-6, 6-3 and 6-3 against the Frenchman Richard Gasquet, 44th.

After that game Sebastian Baez40th in the standings, he will face the Russian Alexander Shevchenko, 93°. The man from Buenos Aires arrives beating the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas 7-5 and 6-3, 97th. And his rival will play his first match in the main draw of the tournament, as he had lost in the last qualifying round, but broke even at the last moment due to the injury defeat of Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Source: Clarin

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