The heat had dried the clay, which was billowing with every gust of wind, and the people were smiling as the skies covered in clouds.
It’s 13:00 on a busy Saturday in Buenos Aires, and over on Court 3, a young man is practising serve-and-volleying.
A crowd gathers to watch him, and, respectful, doesn’t interrupt what’s happening on the court. Further away, you can hear someone asking: “Who is this?”
The newcomers are told by those who had been watching for a while. The Argentinian public knows tennis, and they enjoy it immensely.
On court, the player continues his drills, conscious of the increasing number of people watching him, but at the same time oblivious of them. For the 23-year-old from Rosario, some things are similar and some… quite special.
Renzo got used to being alone. He got used to fighting. But one thing never changed: his people skills. Some 60 people went to meet him when he finished his practice, and he took the time to greet each one of them, to take photos with them, to sign autographs. Everyone left with a smile, happy. The atmosphere had a nice feeling to it.
Many times, those little details are the ones who are unnoticed, but they are those that leave a mark in a person’s heart.
Why did you take the time to take photos and sign autographs to each person who asked you? Do you think it’s something important?
Renzo Olivo: It’s nice to see the people’s appreciation. I do it with pleasure. Taking photos and being asked for autographs doesn’t bother me at all.
Do you like being called “the Illusionist”?
RO: Actually, it makes me laugh. But I also like it. Who wouldn’t like being called “the Illusionist”, or “the Magician”, like they did Coria? It’s fantastic!
What’s up with the drop shots?
RO: I have them in my DNA and it’s been like that since I’m a kid. They’re part of my game.
What’s your goal at present?
RO: Entering the top 100, patiently and without hurrying. I hope I’ll get there soon, though. This would enable me making new objectives. Things are easier when a player is in the top 100.
What do you think of the main draw wild card the Argentina Open organisation gave you?
RO: I would’ve like to beat [Victor] Estrella in Quito and thus leave the wild card to another player. But it’s a great pleasure. I’m very happy. I thank Martín [Jaite, the Tournament Director] and the tournament organisation. It was a difficult decision [for them]. Facu Bagnis had just won two Challengers and he deserved it as well. There was also Dieguito [Schwartzman] who in the end got a direct entrance. I know that it was a very difficult decision for Martín.
I’m very thankful and happy with this invitation, which will really help me a lot, since I came with a lot of matches under my belt. Had they not given me the wild card, I would not have been able to play the tournament because I wouldn’t have made it in time to play the quallies.
“I feel quite mentally consistent on court. As far as my game is concerned, I’m still a bit inconsistent and have many thing to improve, but I did a mental change. I’m achieving a mental balance which I’ve been lacking.
“I’ve very hot-blooded and passionate. At times it helps me, at times it hinders me. I take it differently whether I win or I lose a match. I’m not rejoicing overly when I win, nor overly sad when I lose.
“I’m trying to find a compelling balance.”
The intense February heat gave way to a hard downpour. There weren’t many people left and the tents were flapping in the wind.
The folks were hurrying to make sure that their cars weren’t flooded because of the storm, and after Hans finished taking photos, Renzo got into an old-not-so-old question:
El intenso calor de febrero le dio paso a la lluvia, una lluvia bien fuerte. Ya no queda mucha gente en el predio y las carpas están batallando con el viento.
La gente está preocupada por chequear que los autos no estén sumergidos y, luego de las fotos de Hans, Renzo nos sumerge en una no tan vieja polémica: “Was it you, Diego, or was it Marcos [Zugasti] who first called me ‘the Illusionist’?”
How great to have such “polemics”… when it deals with people you appreciate so much!
Renzo and Marcos are like brothers to us. Those who know us know it. And regardless who loses the discussion, we’re all winners.