Diego Schwartzman has sent a message of support to his namesake and sporting idol Diego Maradona after reaching the Paris Masters third round.
Maradona, who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 and is considered to be one of the greatest football players of all time, underwent surgery on Tuesday to treat a blood clot on his brain.
He is set to remain in a clinic in La Plata, south of Buenos Aires, for at least 48 hours as he recovers.
Maradona’s lawyer said the 60-year-old, who played for Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors before retiring his boots in 1997, was in excellent condition and recovering well.
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Schwartzman signed the words “#FuerzaDiego” on a TV camera after his 7-5 6-3 victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
“I didn’t see (Maradona) play, just on YouTube or videos that I can see on TV and everything, not live, but he’s one of my idols, for sure, in football,” Schwartzman told a news conference.
“I love football and he’s Argentinian. Everyone knows Argentina because of Maradona. That’s why I put ‘Fuerza Diego’, because he’s struggling, he’s not healthy right now and he had surgery last night.”
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World No 9 Schwartzman occupies the final automatic qualification spot for the season-ending ATP Finals in London and can seal his place by reaching the last four in Paris.
“I have the chance in my hand,” Schwartzman said. “Obviously, I’m expecting a few matches from opponents to qualify for London, but I have in my hand the opportunity to qualify.”
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