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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday May 22, 2024

It was an extremely emotional day of qualifying at Roland-Garros. Hours after Dominic Thiem bid farewell to the Parisian faithful, his good friend Diego Schwartzman also played his final match on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Tennis Express

Schwartzman fell to Frenchman Quentin Halys 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(7) in a second-round qualifying match, ending a brilliant French Open career that featured a pair of quarterfinals and a career-best semifinal by the diminutive yet dynamic Argentinian.

After the match Schwartzman broke down in tears as he addressed the crowd in a post-match ceremony. He thanked the fans, saying: "The last match here shows how I've played my whole career here. Roland-Garros for me it's very special. I did what I know to do - I fight to win the match [but] he played an amazing match and he deserved to win."

Schwartzman went 16-5 between 2016 and 2021 in Paris, defeating two-time finalist and good friend Dominic Thiem to reach a career-best semifinal in 2020, and playing two other quarterfinals.

He took his shots at the big stars of the sport as well, going ahead by a set and a break against 14-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals in 2021, before rain stopped play for the night --  he lost in four sets when play resumed on the next day. He also took Novak Djokovic to five sets in the third round in 2017, leading two sets to one before falling to the 24-time major champion.

“Every situation was a little bit different, but at the same time I really enjoyed every moment,” he said. “There were very special moments here in Paris for me. I didn’t have luck on my side in the second weeks here, playing against Novak and Rafa, but at the same time I can say in a few years that I played against them many times in the second week of a Grand Slam.”

Schwartzman plans to retire from the sport next February in Buenos Aires.

The former World No.8 says he wants to be remembered as a “a good fighter who was ready to play the best tennis in the world.”

He will be remembered for more than that. He wore his heart on his sleeve and was pound for pound one of the strongest players on the tour. The 5’7” Argentine had a giant will to win and went toe-to-toe with players who were bigger and stronger than him.

He made up for it with quickness, intensity and feel.

He got plenty of love from the fans in Paris, and will surely get more as he plays out his last few months on the tour.

“I’m enjoying every moment and every tear is going to come, it’s for happiness and nothing else.”