03:30 PM GMT April 05, 2021
In his opening two ATP Tour events of the 2021 season, Lorenzo Musetti advanced to his maiden ATP 500 semi-final in Acapulco and reached the third round on his Miami tournament debut.
The #NextGenATP Italian, who cracked the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time last month, is now ready to continue his rise on clay. Musetti burst onto the scene at home on the red dirt last season, when he stunned Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in consecutive matches to earn his first tour-level victories en route to the third round in Rome. The 19-year-old returns to Italy this week to face Dennis Novak in his opening match at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari.
“When we were practising these [past few] days, I felt the ball so good and I have good feelings,” said Musetti. “I think it is going to be really nice and I think I will surprise [others] in the clay season. I am really looking forward to playing on clay.”
Musetti’s run in Rome was the start of an impressive month at home. Then 18, he followed up his ATP Masters 1000 debut appearance with his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Forli and he also reached his maiden ATP Tour semi-final in Sardinia. This week’s ATP 250 tournament, held in the capital of Sardinia, has not only brought back memories of his successful run at Forte Village in 2020, it has also provided him with a clear goal.
“I really enjoy playing here,” said Musetti. “It is a really nice club. It is always sunny… I am really looking forward to playing here in Sardinia and I will try to [achieve] the best result I can. In Sardinia last year, I did good [and made] the semi-finals. I will try to do the same or better.”
Musetti enters the clay season in a strong position in the ATP Race To Milan. The youngest member of the Top 100 is currently in the fourth qualification place for a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be held in Milan from 9-13 November. Musetti only trails Miami runner-up Jannik Sinner, Delray Beach finalist Sebastian Korda and seven-time ATP Tour finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime in the standings.
“It [would] mean a lot to play in Milan. My goal now is to play at the highest level that I can with the tournaments on the ATP Tour and then, at the end of the season, we will try to play the Next Gen ATP Finals, try to win it,” said Musetti. “In Italy, we now have a lot of tournaments and a lot of achievements. I am really looking forward to playing every tournament in Italy that I can.”