03:00 AM GMT March 28, 2021
But fans have only gotten to know his game on court, highlighted by his crafty one-handed backhand and willingness to mix up spins and shot selection. So what has the teenager been doing off court to stay busy in the tournament bubbles?
“I don’t like so much video games. I never used to play them a lot. Even when I’m at home, I don’t have PlayStation or something,” Musetti said. “I like so much listening to music.”
Many players have travelled with video game consoles during the COVID-19 pandemic. But not the 19-year-old. When Musetti was in Acapulco, he bought a speaker from a member of the tournament’s staff, and that has proven a key entertainment item.
“Here with the football pitch [in Miami], I put the music on and I warm up and I really enjoy [my] time like this,” Musetti said.
When the #NextGenATP star was born in March 2002, Billboard’s Top 100 songs included hits by Jennifer Lopez, Ja Rule, Nickelback and Linkin Park. But the Italian is more old school than his age indicates.
“I like every kind of music. I really like old music from the 80s, from the 90s, also rock music,” Musetti said. “My father was a [fan] of that period of music. When I was a child, in the car, he was always like, ‘Lorenzo, listen to this, listen to this!’ I felt the same passion like him. I really like the 80s and 90s rock music.”
While Musetti and his coach, Simone Tartarini, haven’t done this the past couple weeks, they have sometimes played cards to pass time, since they are only allowed to go between the tournament venue and the hotel.
“It’s not easy to pass the time in the bubble, but we are getting used to it, so it’s fine,” Musetti said. “Usually we play not me against Simone, we play poker, some Italian games. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s just having fun. We win, we lose.”
As you’d expect, the newly minted youngest player in the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings has gotten plenty of congratulatory messages over the past six months. Last September, he qualified for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and reached the third round of the main draw. Last week, Musetti made the semi-finals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.
“When you do semi-finals in Acapulco, you receive a lot of text messages,” Musetti said, cracking a laugh. “They take away a lot of moments, and I think sometimes if you don’t know how to manage that, you can be tired the next day because you are always on the phone.
“You don’t have to always be on the phone texting. It’s not easy, but I was doing that with [during my Rome run with] Wawrinka and Nishikori and then with Koepfer, I was really tired. Now in Acapulco, it was better because it was not the first time.”
Musetti is still getting used to all the attention he has received during this torrid stretch. When play resumed last August following a five-month suspension, the teen was World No. 284. Now he is World No. 94 and by the looks of things, Musetti has no plans of slowing his rapid ascent.
One thing is for sure: this #NextGenATP player is enjoying the ride.
“For me in every tournament, there is always a first time. But I’ve always enjoyed it, because you cannot only play tennis and go on court and do whatever you want. It’s really nice also with the fans,” Musetti said. “Now it’s not easy with the fans because this pandemic situation is not easy, but I’m really enjoying doing media things and [things outside] tennis.”
Musetti will try to continue his on-court success on Monday when he plays former World No. 3 Marin Cilic.