Italian tennis player Paolo Lorenzi, 38, admits that playing against Rafael Nadal at the Rome Masters has been one of the best memories of his career. Lorenzi, ranked No. 121 in the world, faced Nadal on the clay courts of the Rome Masters in 2011.
Nadal, considered the best clay court player in history, entered the match as a huge favorite, but Lorenzi forced him to work hard for victory. Former World No. 33 Lorenzi won a tight first set before 12-time French Open champion Nadal came back to win 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-0 and advance to the round of 16.
Earlier, Lorenzi made it through the qualifying event and beat Brazilian Thoma Bellucci in the first round to set up a meeting against Nadal. “It’s a beautiful memory that I carry inside, all my friends were there to see me.
Against Nadal I wanted to leave a good impression,” Lorenzi told LiveTennis. Lorenzi also added that he played above his level and that the match against Nadal helped him realize that he can improve even more and compete against the best.
Lorenzi enjoyed the best years of his tennis career just a few years ago, as he claimed his first ATP title in 2016 and achieved his career-high ranking a year later. The 38-year-old Italian lifted his first ATP title on the clay courts of Kitzbuhel after beating Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final.
“It was a great satisfaction, the best of my career,” Lorenzi recalled on winning Kitzbuhel.
Rafael Nadal is having a brilliant 2022
In his book, Rafael Nadal: My Story, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, talked about how his uncle coached him during his youth days.
He said, “So there was fun and magic in my relationship with Toni, even if the prevailing mood when we trained was stony and severe. And we had plenty of success. If he hadn’t made me play without water that day, if he hadn’t singled me out for especially harsh treatment when I was in that group of little kids learning the game, if I hadn’t as I did at the injustice and abuse he heaped on me, maybe I would not be the player I am today”.
Further, opening up about his rage, Nadal said, “Often I’d struggle to contain my rage. “Why is it me and not the other boys who have to sweep the court after training?” I’d ask myself. “Why do I have to pick up more balls than the others? Why does he scream at me that way when I hit the ball out?” But I learned to internalize that anger too, not to fret at the injustice, to accept it and get on with it”.