Musetti magic lands milestone moment

 - Alex Sharp

The Italian youngster prevailed in a modern-day classic final to lift his maiden ATP title in Hamburg.

Lorenzo Musetti Monte-Carlo 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The first true glimpse of Lorenzo Musetti for a majority of tennis fans was at Roland-Garros 2021. Wielding his canvas painting single-handed backhand, the flamboyant Italian roared into the fourth round in Paris on Grand Slam debut. Two sets up to then world No.1 Novak Djokovic, before retiring in the fifth set, Musetti gave us a flavour of things to come from this captivating talent.

Just over a year on and the 20-year-old has rediscovered that form, lifting his maiden ATP title in thrilling fashion.

Carlos Alcaraz has been leading the charge for the Next Gen, however, Musetti defied the Spaniard in an absorbing 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 triumph on the clay in Hamburg.

The Italian saw five Championship points erased in the second set of their first professional meeting, before holding off the full-throttle aggression from Alcaraz in a catalogue of brilliant rallies. 

In disbelief, Musetti lay on the court an ATP champion.

"I have no words because it was a roller-coaster until the end. I had so many match points. Carlos was so good on the match points,” said Musetti after edging the newly crowned world No.5. "It was not easy to find the energy to come back.

“It’s something that you always dream of when you are a child, when you are working and sacrificing yourself. The emotions I had today, I will keep it in my heart and my head for a long time.”

No more dreaming, Musetti is now an elite player and has the silverware to prove it.

 Up to a career-high No.31, the former junior world No.1 was forced to demonstrate plenty of mental fortitude to reach his first top-tier final.

His luggage, including rackets, were lost en route from Bastad, he then had food poisoning the night before his first-round match. During that opening duel against Dusan Lajovic, Musetti managed to save two match points to ignite his title charge. 

Such adversity made his maiden triumph taste extra special. 

“Obviously I always dreamed about winning a title and I didn’t have any chances before. I think my best result was a semi-final, so I never had the opportunity to play a final,” mused Musetti.

“I think we did an amazing job and now we will celebrate and enjoy it for the next days, but we have to focus on Umag and the rest of the year.”

 On Sunday night the 20-year-old posted some trophy snaps on Instagram with the caption, “Hard work pays off.” The world No.31 is adamant this is just the start, making sure he continues to follow the path carved out by his long-standing coach Simone Tartarni. 

“We really have this special feeling. It’s more than a coach and a player, it’s like father and son. I consider him like my second father and I always believed in him as a person and as a tennis coach,” stated the Italian. 

“He always tried to improve me on and off the court and educate me in the best way. That’s what I need to be competitive like I was today.”

With such effortless power and picturesque strokes, the magic of Musetti is a welcome sight in the latter stages of tournaments.