Diego Schwartzman height: Diego Schwartzman is dominating men’s tennis despite his short height – here’s everything you need to know
Diego Schwartzman, standing at 170cm (5ft 7in), holds the distinction of being the shortest player within the ATP Tour’s top 50. This height aligns him with Ken Rosewall, who secured his eighth Grand Slam title in 1972. Except for Rosewall, no player of a similar stature or less has clinched a major tournament – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, or the US Open – since 1968, when professionals were allowed to compete. In a field dominated by taller athletes, Schwartzman stands out remarkably, being 41cm (1ft 3in) shorter than Reilly Opelka, the tallest player in the Top 50 at 211cm (6ft 11in).
When he was 13, Schwartzman felt crushed upon hearing from a doctor that he wouldn’t surpass 5ft 7in in height. In the modern era, most successful male tennis players stand at least 6ft tall, with Andre Agassi being an exception at 5ft 11in. Among the seven players ranked higher than Schwartzman at the end of 2020, the average height was 6ft 3in.
Despite frequent inquiries about his height in interviews and press conferences, Schwartzman consistently responds graciously, highlighting his speed on the court and mental resilience as his key strengths. He acknowledges possessing various skills and notes that taller players might excel differently. While his notable achievements often occur on clay, he acknowledges that his height can sometimes hinder him on that surface due to the increased ball bounce. He believes that Roland Garros presents his best opportunity for success in Grand Slam tournaments.
Why is height so important in modern Tennis?
The correlation between a player’s height and their ability to hit the ball harder is evident: taller players tend to have more weight, facilitating stronger hits. Their longer arms provide increased power, extended reach, better rotation, and faster racket head speed. The serve particularly benefits from greater height, enabling harder hits and a downward trajectory that results in higher bounces on the opponent’s side. Taller stature grants players a significant advantage by offering more angles to manipulate when striking the ball, providing a broader margin for error.
Diego Schwartzmann has managed to defy the general rule by playing to his strengths. Shorter players have a lower center of gravity and better movement around the court. What Schwartzman lacks in power and reach, he more than makes up for in agility and guile. Taller players also tend to tire more easily, because of the extra weight they have to carry around the court, and Schwartzman’s endurance is a big asset. He is also known as one of the, if not the, best returners of serve – he breaks serve regularly in his matches. But the question is whether he can hang on to his own service games to win the big matches.
What have been the highlights of Diego Schwartzmann’s professional career?
Diego Schwartzman’s tennis career boasts four ATP singles titles, with his peak ranking at world No. 8 in October 2020. Known for his proficiency on clay courts, he excels particularly in his return game. Standing at 170 centimeters (5 ft 7 in), his notable achievement includes reaching the quarterfinals of the 2017 US Open, where he became the shortest Grand Slam quarterfinalist since Jaime Yzaga, also at the same height, in the 1994 US Open. Schwartzman emphasized, “Success isn’t reserved just for the tall players here.”
In the 2020 Italian Open, Schwartzman clinched his first Masters final, notably defeating Rafael Nadal, the defending champion and world No. 2, in straight sets, and also surpassing Denis Shapovalov on his way to the final. Although he faced a loss to Novak Djokovic in that final, his journey didn’t stop there. Just a month later, at the 2020 French Open, he achieved another milestone by defeating world No. 3 Dominic Thiem, securing his inaugural Grand Slam semifinal berth. This accomplishment marked him as the shortest man to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal since the 5-foot-6-inch (168 cm) American Harold Solomon at the 1980 French Open.
Schwartzman’s serve maintains consistency but isn’t notably exceptional, contrasting with his stronger return play. In 2017, he led the ATP statistically in return games and ranked high in winning second-serve points. While he possesses reliable volleys and favors the drop volley, they don’t stand out as major weapons in his arsenal. His success predominantly aligns with his speed and robust baseline strategy, yielding better results on clay compared to hard courts or grass surfaces. Nonetheless, in recent years, he’s made efforts to diversify his game. These changes led to breakthroughs, notably on grass, securing his first-ever grass win in 2018, as he endeavors to introduce more variety into his playing style.