He has this little happiness in the hollow of words, bundled up, warm. Tomas Etcheverry is 23 years old and, on the Central, this Wednesday afternoon, the Argentinian from La Plata will experience his first Grand Slam quarter. 49th in the world, he was not on the short list at the beginning. But here he is in the top 8 of the biggest tournament in the world on clay, the one that made him dream when he frantically kicked a jokari ball at the age of 4 or 5 years old.
Monday, after bending the last resistance of the Japanese Nishioka, the South American was caught up in the whirlwind of feelings. The joy, of course, of having arrived there, without leaving a single set on the way or summoning the saint of miracles. Since taking on “Wally” Grinovero in his corner last summer, Etcheverry was convinced of a great trip in 2023. He worked on the fundamentals, reviewed the mechanics and aggressiveness in forehand, resumed the basics to service. Above all, he put himself in the mental dispositions of a winner. Result, two finals (in Santiago and Houston) and this Parisian epic. “When I qualify, the first feeling is to tell myself that I deserve it. I worked very hard for it”he said.
In Rome, he finally faced his idol
But there was also another emotion, more intimate, more vivid. Etcheverry rolled his eyes and he felt that she was there… She is Magali, her sister who died at the age of 32 last year from breast cancer. “She is there every moment”he slips, modestly.
Etcheverry is a huge Joker fan. (The Team)
From up there, she must be proud of her little brother, this slender 17-year-old teenager who, on the day of his first ATP point, held up a sign with the points differential separating him from Novak Djokovic, “the idol of my whole life” as he says! Since then, the Argentinian has told his story on the courts, immortalizing by the figure each beautiful moment of his career, like a step crossed on the list of his dreams. “The first time was in Ecuador in 2016. My coach at the time, Luciano Cabeiro, had the idea of doing this to motivate me. I thought the idea was cool and last year I did it again when I got into the Top 100,” he smiled.
In Rome, on May 12, Etcheverry did not brandish anything when he crossed his idol for the first time on earth (defeat 7-6 (5), 6-2). ” It was a dream. I told him he was a great player and a huge person.”, he says. But when his Parisian adventure ends, Etcheverry has already planned to take the sign out of his bag. Next Monday, at worst, he will be 31st in the world.