Lorenzo Musetti became the 10th first-time ATP Tour titlist of the season on Sunday when he won a thrilling Hamburg European Open final against Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4.
The Italian let slip five championship points in the second set, but managed to weather the Alcaraz storm in the third set to lift the ATP 500 trophy.
ATPTour.com spoke to the 20-year-old after the match about his breakthrough, his relationship with his coach, Simone Tartarini, why he idolised his grandfather and his pre-match playlist.
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What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
For me it’s a dream. 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. I’m really happy with this week. 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.
What was going through your mind after the second set and how were you able to battle back?
It was a really tough loss in the second set. I think I deserved to close the match in two sets, but then some unlucky things [happened] and Carlos was very good saving so many match points. I was upset with myself with everything, but I tried to find the solution and the solution was to again find the rhythm and the energy. That’s what I did. I’m really happy that I never gave up and it worked at the end.
You had such a good start to your career, but had not made a final before this week. How much of a focus was it for you to lift a trophy?
I never had the chance to get to a final and now getting to the final and lifting the trophy, it’s something really fantastic for me. It’s the first time, so I have no words to describe how it feels. 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.
Watch Final Highlights:
You mentioned you arrived here a little bit sick and without luggage. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
I arrived here on Thursday from Bastad and with all the strikes, one of my luggage [bags] got lost. [It was] the one with the racquets, so I was a little bit worried about how I would play, because I was still in qualifying. Then I got in [the main draw]so I managed to pick up the racquets.
The night before the start of the matches, I threw up all night. I had food poisoning, so I felt a little bit sick. I didn’t expect to go as far as I went, so I’m happy that my luck turned around at this tournament.
You’ve often spoken about your relationship with your coach, Simone Tartarini. How important has he been in your growth as both a player and a person?
Me and Simone are one thing together. 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.
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. I just want to thank him for all the support that he’s given me.
You have said your grandfather is your hero. Can you explain why?
My grandfather was a really honest man, a genuine man and I wish in the future that I will be like him. It’s sad because he passed away a long time ago, so he cannot see what I became. Sometimes it’s tough to think about that, but I would like to describe him as my hero.
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Now that you have won a title, what is your next goal and why?
I have to win next week! To win next week and try to win more and more. To try and play even better than today, try to grow and try to have the capacity of maintaining this level during the year. Hopefully there will be more and more lifting trophies.
What do you consider to be your biggest passion outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about that interest?
I always like to listen to music. I’m always with my headphones and with my speaker in the room and always traveling with so many things regarding music. I always had the passion since I was a child.
Probably my father transferred to me the passion for music since I was a kid, especially old music. Not [music from] my age, [but] 80s or 90s rock and stuff like that. I wish one day to go to a concert of a rock artist because I haven’t had the chance. I think my first passion outside of tennis is for sure music.
You’ve said how much you listen to classic rock music. What were the songs on your playlist before the match today?
Before the match I have my own pre-match playlist. That’s I think one of my favorite bands, Linkin Park. Today I listened to a lot of Linking Park songs. The most memorable one was Papercut because it gave me some kind of extra energy during the warmup.
You’ve already accomplished so much at only 20 years old. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?
That hard work pays off and that you can never expect things. When you expect things, they won’t happen. When you don’t expect it and you just work for it, it’s going to come. I think that’s the most important thing for me.
How will you celebrate your first title?
Probably with dinner with my team, but not a big celebration because we’re going to fly tomorrow to Umag. We have to be Italians, but not too much.