Sebastián Báez’s successful and independent path: “Friendship is overrated”
NEW YORK – A streak of twelve straight wins, two titles, and an auspicious start to the last Grand Slam of the year. Success in Sebastian Báez ‘s career is coming with a degree of independence.
“Friendship can sometimes be overrated,” says Argentina’s number two at a press conference with some Spanish-speaking media in New York.
Baez refers to the relationship he has with the other Argentine tennis players on the circuit, with whom he has a healthy competition. At the same time, he is very fierce for being the best and most successful representative of his country at present. After the second round of the US Open, Baez is ranked 27th in the Live ranking, Tomás Etcheverry a little further back (34), and Francisco Cerúndolo leads in the top 20.
The champion of four ATP titles is not friends with his other two Davis Cup teammates, no. He does not see them outside of tournaments or talk to them more than necessary. He does have a long-standing respect for them, and rejoices at their success.
“I’m glad that my teammates are doing well. It’s a motivation that I think is mutual. If you’re doing well, you can feel, ‘I can do well too’. That healthy competition is very good and it is a little bit the difference that the bigger countries have, with so many tournaments and so many opportunities. The United States has three guys in the top 20,” says Baez.
“I’ve shared with them since I was 12. I wish them the best and obviously we congratulate each other when we do well, the good relationship takes years, but each one is focused on his own thing. I don’t go out with them. The tour is very competitive,” he adds.
Baez arrived in New York with the Winston Salem ATP 250 title, right after the Kitzbuhel title. “It’s going to be hard to get that trophy into the country, I can go to jail,” he jokes. The prize is one of the most unique on the tour. A 26-point Moravian star, created by a local craftsman. A Christmas symbol of the southeastern region of the Czech Republic, whose community is very large in North Carolina.
The trophy was won by the Argentinean without his coach in the tournament. If Baez previously perhaps felt that something was missing when Sebastian Gutierrez was not accompanying him, now the situation is different.
“It’s a bit of learning and maturity that I’m acquiring with time, with the tournaments. Whether Seba is there or not, he’s going to help me a lot, but it was good to be able to achieve that kind of independence. Since he wasn’t physically there, it was very important for me to be able to perform the same way. We are finding the way to function from a distance”, he reflects.
Gutiérrez is already with him in New York. Baez will play against Russian Daniil Medvedev for the passage to the fourth round of the US Open and his thirteenth
victory in a row.