The 18-year old registered the biggest win of his career in Rome.
Lorenzo Musetti defied the odds by defeating former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 6-0, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Italian Open. The Italian teenager who is currently at a career-high No. 249 in the ATP rankings, held the upper hand for the majority of the match.
Playing in only his second tour-level match, only a few would have expected him to beat Wawrinka. The youngster used to watch the greats like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and his opponent Wawrinka at the Foro Italico and is delighted with the turn of events.
“I think it’s a dream that came true, and I’m still not believing what I did tonight. I just accept that and let’s see [what happens] in the next days. I didn’t expect this win, but I think I deserved it. I played really good tennis and I enjoyed all the points of this match,” said Musetti.
Wawrinka, currently ranked No. 17 in the world, had a lot of uncharacteristic unforced errors from the start, which caused him to lose eight straight games against the Italian.
Musetti said, “Stan has an incredible backhand, incredible serve, a lot of power. I think I just managed my weapons the best tonight. At the end, it was incredible.”
After a first set that ended 6-0, the second set was a tense affair. However, Musetti prevailed over his more experienced opponent after an incredible performance on the court.
He remarked, “I just tried to keep my serve and then in the tie-break I was really brave and I enjoyed a lot playing in this beautiful stadium. I’m really calm, I don’t know why. But I was calm also before the match. I think that’s the key of my victory.”
The teenager has earned $57,270 in prize money so far this event compared to the $69,634 he had previously made in his career. However, he is just satisfied with competing on the grandest of stages.
Musetti said, “I don’t know how many points I got, how much money. I just enjoyed the match and I had a lot of fun tonight and hope to keep the process and trust the process of my career and try to play better every point, every day. I think that’s my goal of the moment.”
He learned the skills under the tutelage of Simone Tartarini for nine years and believes that the hard work helped him to bring out his best on the court. His rise can be compared to another Italian teen Jannik Sinner, who won his first Masters 1000 match in Rome and then went on to win the Next Gen ATP Finals.
Musetti stated, “We worked a lot this month. I think I did one step of maturation of my game and my mentality. I just focussed on the game.”
“Their success pushes me and it gives me a fire to try to do better. Jannik had an amazing season and it makes me work harder to see him like that. I hope to have the level like Jannik, because he is the best of us in Italy. I think that will come soon for me.”
He will take on another celebrated opponent in Kei Nishikori in the next round. The Japanese star defeated Spain’s Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets in the first round.