Lionel Messi called Nadal win ‘lucky’ in private chat with Argentine tennis star

Diego Schwartzman has revealed that Lionel Messi thought Rafael Nadal was “lucky” to win a tight contest at the French Open. The Argentine tennis star met Messi ahead of the 2018 World Cup, days after he lost to Nadal in a match that was rained off while Schwartzman was leading by a set and a break.

Schwartzman has long been a fan of Messi given that the two both hail from Argentina. The former world No 8 was in the stands to cheer on his nation at last year’s World Cup and he headed stateside to watch Messi make his Inter Miami debut in the Leagues Cup this summer where he was caught chatting to the footballing icon on the bench.

But his first meeting with the former Barcelona star came a few years earlier, when he learned that Messi had tuned into his match against Nadal at the French Open. “The first time I met him, it was before the World Cup in Russia in 2018,” the 31-year-old said in a conversation with his rivals Andrey Rublev, Christopher Eubanks and Jan-Lennard Struff during the Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

“I lost to Rafa in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and I was a set and break up. And after that date, I had my flight from Barcelona and the Argentinians were doing their preparation for the World Cup there with the national team.”

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While Schwartzman was focused on meeting one of his heroes, it seemed that Messi wanted to chat about the match. The four-time title winner continued: “So I went there with a few players and spoke [to him]. And the first thing he said to me was, ‘How lucky was Rafa?’

“In Spanish obviously, ‘How lucky was Rafa with the rain?’ Because I was a set and a break ahead and the rain stopped the match. I was leading 6-4 3-1 and break point for 4-1 and after that we played like 15 minutes and then came back the next day. And after that I lost like, it was too easy for him playing with the sun at noon.”

Messi’s comment came as a welcome surprise to Schwartzman, who joked that he was just happy to learn that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner knew who he was. Smiling, he added: “But while Messi was telling me that I was thinking, ‘He was watching the match, he knows who I am.’”

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Going into their quarter-final match back in 2018, Nadal had won 37 sets in a row at the French Open but Schwartzman snapped his streak when he raced to a 6-4 lead. A year earlier, Nadal lifted a milestone 10th title on the Parisian clay but he was in trouble before the rain came.

The Spaniard was a break down in the second set when they left the court for a lengthy delay. Nadal won three games in a row when play resumed that night but the match was ultimately called off again due to the rain and both men returned the following day where the ‘King of Clay’ won 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

Although Schwartzman has gone on to meet Messi multiple times since their chat about the 2018 French Open, the 31-year-old still finds it difficult to talk to the Inter Miami star. “Yes I met him a few years before but even if you meet him when you see him it’s like, too much respect,” he explained. “You don’t want to say anything. It’s like, ‘Okay, hello Leo.’ You don’t want to ask for anything.”

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