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Schwank pays the price for erratic loss

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Originally published on: 09/04/10 13:19

Eduardo Schwank blamed his erratic 6-1 6-7(5) 6-1 defeat to fellow Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela on a back injury, but tournament organisers at this week’s US Men’s Clay Court Championships proved to be less than impressed with his performance.

So much so that the world No.61 was fined $1,000 for his variable effort on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old battled back problems throughout the second round match, ultimately resorting to a series of drop shots and lobs en route to defeat, a tactic that culminated in him being booed off court after foot-faulting on match point.

“The problem with my back affected me mentally so it didn’t help the match,” said Schwank afterwards with the aid of an interpreter.

“I was doing drop shots to shorten the point so to not exert my back so much and also to make him run and get him tired.”

It was a strategy that failed to impress 30-year-old Chela, who admits that he found it difficult to play at such an inconsistent pace.

“It’s hard to keep concentration when two points are very well played and two points are poorly played,” said the former world No.15 – now ranked No.82.

“He kept doing those drop shots so it was really hard to focus. I tried to stay on course and play my best tennis.”

Schwank, who has failed to build on a promising junior career that saw him reach No.2 in the world – behind Gael Monfils – in 2004, said in his defence:

“I don’t like to retire, that’s why I just played until the end. For me it was the same, retiring or not. At the end it’s the same. I’d rather stay on the court and lose on court.”

Chela, who next plays Lleyton Hewitt for a place in the semi-finals, disagreed with that philosophy.

“I think if you have any sort of pain, where you don’t feel well and aren’t able to give 100 percent on the court, it’s better to just retire,” he said.

And after organisers dipped into his $7,650 prize fund in Houston, perhaps Schwank will heed his countryman’s advice in future.

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