For Tomas Etcheverry, the last two years of his career have been the best. Reaching his first two ATP Tour-level finals in Santiago and Houston as well as a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros saw him climb to a career-high 30th in the rankings.

Off-court, the 24-year-old Argentine is dealing with an incaluclable loss as in Sep[tember 2022, his sister Magli passed away after a battle with breast cancer.

"I think that she gives me strength"

After each win that Etcheverry has, he points to the sky as a tribute to Magli, saying "she's always by my side. I look at the sky always when I play a match and I think that she gives me strength.

"The year 2022 was the worst for the family with this happening. It was tough. I think sometimes people think they have a problem. Life is more than that. 

"That's why I try to look at life totally differently. Maybe it shows that tennis important but it's not the end-all be-all."

"My family is happy to see me playing"

Magli was diagonsed with breast cancer in 2021 before her untimely death a year later with Tomas revealing that it was one of the toughest periods of his life but he stuck with tennis to give his family a bit of joy during their time of grief.

"It was the most difficult period", he said. "I just wanted to be with my fmaily when this was happening. Sometimes when I play, I feel that. My family is happy to see me playing and I am grateful that I can give them [something] to smile about.

"That's the only thing I can do at this moment."

"It was a special moment (to play Roland Garros)"

Nine months after he lost his sister, Etcheverry made it to the last eight in Paris. Following his fourth-round victory over Yoshihito Nishioka, he fell to his knees and dedicated the win to Magli.

Etcheverry looks up to the sky after advancing to the French Open quarterfinals/Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
Etcheverry looks up to the sky after advancing to the French Open quarterfinals/Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

"I always wanted to play Roland Garros, so it was a special moment. I shared it with my team, my uncle, my grandfather, with my family and also with my friends in Argentina.

"It was really crazy because all the people called my name and called me. They said beautiful things to me. It was incredible."

Etcheverry opens with Murray, possible third-round showdown against Djokovic on the horizon

The Argentine hopes to replicate that success in Melbourne, where he opens his fortnight against five-time finalist Andy Murray with a potential third-round matchup against Novak Djokovic looming.

For his part, Murray said "he has a game that can make matches [physical]. We played in Basel, I don't know if it was over three hours, but it felt like it was. In Indian Wells, another long one.

"I know that last year when I wasn't serving well, you end up getting into lots more long rallies and everything. Because of the way I return, I put quite a lot of returns back in play, you can end up getting into lots of long points when that's the case.

"Matches will go on. Hopefully that's not the case in a couple of days."

Etcheverry hopes to defeat the Brit and equal his best-ever result at the Australian Open, all spurred on by the memory of his sister.

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About the author
John Lupo
New York, NY | Multi-sport journalist | Media member | NYCFC and New York Red Bulls photographer| Northeast and Yorkshire Editor