Lorenzo Musetti: As Italian tennis players, we are living a dream

Lorenzo Musetti in action
Lorenzo Musetti has stormed into just his third career final at Queen's.

As his match point was converted, Lorenzo Musetti sank into the Queen’s Club turf, almost in a combination of relief and disbelief.

The 22-year-old was not expected to reach this stage of the tournament, but then neither was his semi-final opponent, Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

Though it was a surprise match-up, this was a match between two men who should both play well on grass – but for different reasons.

Thompson is a naturally aggressive player, big off both wings and comfortable moving into the net, and while Musetti does not possess the same power level, his all-court artistry is something to behold.

The 22-year-old moves around the court with such ease and grace, his touch and slice always set to be a danger on this surface.

And, across a high-quality three-set encounter, it was his game that ultimately won out, sealing a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 triumph to reach his first grass-court final.

“Definitely a tough match, but I think Jordan played really good tennis till the end. We fought really hard till the last point,” he said.

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“The energy and the intensity that I put on court today was really, really high, and for sure one of the key moments at the end of the third set when I broke him on the 4-3 was something really special and really, really important for the turnaround of the match.

“I’m really, really happy to be in the final.”

This has not been an easy year for the Italian, with a 14-16 win-loss record to his name coming into Queen’s.

Having been seeded at this tournament twelve months ago, a slip down the rankings meant the world No 30 was afforded no such luxury this year, and he was handed a tricky draw against second seed Alex de Minaur.

But, despite a tough first set, Musetti showed great resilience against the in-form world No 7, coming from behind in a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory to fire himself into round two.

Victories over Brandon Nakashima and Billy Harris followed for the Italian, before battling past Thompson in the semi-final – a third three-set win in four matches.

“It’s been a fantastic week. There were many tournaments where I felt when I was practicing that I could go forward but it never happened.

“I didn’t have the results that I probably needed for my level, for the tennis I’m showing. You know, it’s with a lot of pain inside, a lot of suffer, a lot up-and-down.

“The consistency that I’m finding right now, it’s really, really important, because as I said on court, I’m surrounded by really people that really care about me.

“We are working together as a family, as a team. That’s even more special for me with that.”

Musetti’s run to the joint biggest final of his career – and his first final since October 2022 – continues a groundbreaking recent surge within the Italian game.

This is of course spearheaded by Jannik Sinner, Italy’s first No 1 and the Australian Open champion, but the likes of Grand Slam finalists Jasmine Paolini and Matteo Berrettini have also played their part.

An Italian team starring Musetti won the Davis Cup for the first time in 47 years last November and with other talent such as Matteo Arnaldi breaking through, the nation has become a force on the tour.

And with Sinner also in a final on Sunday – up against Hubert Hurkacz in Halle – Musetti hopes to write the latest special chapter in Italian tennis history.

“As Italian tennis, we are living a dream, I would say,” he commented, whilst smiling.

“Firstly, the win of the Davis Cup. Then Jannik won a Grand Slam title. Then he became No. 1 in the world.

“Almost every week we have some Italian even in the women’s, Jasmine Paolini, she’s doing amazing. With [Sara] Errani also in doubles, they won Rome.

“This week we have [Simone] Bolelli and [Andrea] Vavassori who made also final in French Open and the Australian Open, and they are finalists also in Halle, as Jannik. So we have one doubles team and two Italians in the finals.

“I think even for the fans and the kids, we are really inspiring people to watch and, you know, to love tennis.

“That’s what we love about sport. It’s about sharing with others our passion, so I’m really looking forward to playing tomorrow, and of course I will enjoy even the Halle finals tomorrow.”

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