Etcheverry on his goals, Argentine tennis, and why rankings are just a number

The Argentine tennis star who shocked Andy Murray at the 2024 Australian Open spoke with the Herald about his burst into the spotlight

Argentine tennis star Tomás Etcheverry (27th ATP singles ranking) shocked the tennis world when he beat three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray at the 2024 Australian Open in January. This week, Etcheverry is playing in the Argentina Open, where he has reached the quarterfinals once again as the country’s second-top-ranked player. 

The Herald met up with Etcheverry at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis, where the tournament is being played, to talk about his burst into the spotlight and what’s next for him.

How do you analyze your improvement over the last two years, particularly going from being out of the top 100 to now being in the top 30?

It’s been a long road, a process that boils down to playing and improving. At the end of the day, rankings are just a number that reflects your level of play and what you’ve got to deliver on the court. 

You improve and become one of the favorites. You have to know how to handle that because you start tournaments as a seeded player. I’m at a level where anyone can beat anyone, so you can lose against any rival.

You’ve said that facing top players helps you improve your game. Where do you feel you need to get better in order to compete at the highest level?

You’ve got to improve your game across the board. It’s not just about your groundstrokes but also your accuracy. Your serve has to be faster and more precise. I have to be more aggressive when returning, be more offensive, and step higher into the court. 

You have to improve your game in every way because, at the top level, you can’t have any weaknesses and there are few mistakes.

You’ve been praised by Grand Slam winners like Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, who said you were his favorite Argentine player. How do you feel about that and what do you think about the current state of Argentine tennis, with several players closing in on the top 100?

What [Wawrinka] said was very nice. I played against him twice last year and got to talk to him in the dressing room, so I know he’s not only a great champion but also a great guy, and I’m proud to get such high praise from him.

It’s a great moment for Argentine tennis. There’s a lot of us in the top 100, and there’s going to be plenty more because we have some very good kids coming up.

We are fortunate to have several Challenger tournaments in South America, and that helped all Latin Americans grow and improve their ranking. There’s going to be plenty of us, so it’s a great moment and I think we have to enjoy it because we have some great years ahead of us.

You’ve reached the quarterfinals again this year. How far do you think you can go and what’s your goal for this year?

I’m taking it step by step. I’ve been playing my best tennis in Buenos Aires, but it’s a matter of adapting every day. 

There are weeks where you feel better and you play with that advantage. And there are others where you don’t and you still have to compete. We’ll see who I’m facing in the next round and then decide what the game plan will be. 

This year, my goal is to enter the top 20 in the ranking and win my first ATP Tour tournament.


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