(Reuters) – Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman sent a message of support to his namesake and sporting idol Diego Maradona after his 7-5 6-3 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the Paris Masters second round on Wednesday.
Maradona, who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 and is considered to one of the greatest soccer players of all time, underwent surgery on Tuesday to treat a blood clot on his brain.
Maradona’s lawyer said the 60-year-old was in excellent condition and recovering well.
Schwartzman signed the words “#FuerzaDiego” on a TV camera after his match against 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.”
World number nine Schwartzman occupies the final automatic qualification spot for the season-ending ATP Finals 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.”
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)