Diego Schwartzman Is Tennis’ First Jewish Top 20 Player Since 1990
BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Argentinean Jewish tennis star Diego Schwartzman won the Rio de Janeiro Open, raising his ranking to 18th position in the Association of Tennis Professionals, or ATP.
It is the first time that a Jewish player is among the top 20 in the ATP ranking since 1990, when the United States’ Brad Gilbert achieved 4th position. In 1987 Israeli Amos Mansdorf also was ranked 18th in the ATP.
Schwartzman, 25, on Sunday defeated the Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Rio Open, the biggest tournament of South America in prize money and ranking, and his first ATP 500-level title.
“I’m very happy to break into the top 20,” Schwartzman said in an interview on the tournament website. “It’s a very difficult tournament, with top 10 (players), great players in the draw and when the week starts you don’t think you are going to play the finals.”
He grew up in a Jewish family in Buenos Aires and rose as a tennis player in the Hacoaj JCC sport club in the Argentinean capital
Last week his entire family, including his biggest fan his Bubbe Celia, attended the Buenos Aires Open tournament to cheer him on.