Lorenzo Musetti nearly pulled off a stunner on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Monday, taking the first two sets against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in their fourth-round clash at Roland Garros. Although the #NextGenATP Italian would have liked to have finished the job, he was pleased with his performance.
“For me [it] was a fantastic experience. I think I was playing my best tennis, for sure. I have never played like today,” Musetti said. “The first two sets were really long, more than two hours. Of course I’m a little bit disappointed, but I played against [the] No. 1 in the world, and I took the first two sets.”
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The 19-year-old was making his Grand Slam main draw debut this fortnight, but he showed no fear on one of tennis’ biggest stages against an 18-time major champion. However, Musetti admitted he was fatigued from a five-set win against Marco Cecchinato in the third round.
“He started playing really good, and then I had some problems with my physical part. I think I have to work there. Of course the match with Cecchinato was five sets, three hours, and was really tough, was really intense,” Musetti said. “Maybe if I had played three sets [against Cecchinato] instead of five today [it would have been] different.
“But you cannot compare. I’m happy with this week and with the tennis that I have showed today.”
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This time last year, when play was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Musetti was No. 284 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Italian is at a career-high World No. 76 and he will climb closer to the Top 50 next Monday thanks to his efforts in Paris.
“I came here to play my first Grand Slam in the main draw, and I made [the] second week taking two sets against the No. 1 in the world. I think I took away a lot of feelings, a lot of emotions, but a lot of experience,” Musetti said. “Now I know how can I play, how far I am from the biggest [players on] the Tour, like Nole, so I know that if I play good I can stay at this level.”
Musetti has shown great consistency this season, and he now has a 16-9 record in 2021, including two ATP Tour semi-final appearances. Now the teen will get back to work in the hopes of improving and continuing his ascent.
“I think I’m doing really good almost every week. When you have [a new] best ranking every week, I think you are doing good,” Musetti said. “I’m making a lot of points… I think it’s a really good season for me at the moment.
But we are at the halfway [point of the season], so let’s see how the other half is going to end.”