Former Italian tennis player Paolo Lorenzi is now a commentator for Sky Sport and FIT consultant for the Over 18s. The former tennis player, who retired this year on the threshold of forty, is the perfect example of the second type.
He did not have Federer’s magic touch, Djokovic’s frightening mental strength or Nadal’s extreme combativeness and power, yet with the great human skills such as perseverance and humility he was able to cross the door of professional tennis by taking off quite a few satisfactions.
Interviewed by OASport.it, Lorenzi retraced his career but also talked about the thriving present of Italian tennis, destined to live a bright future.
The interview opens with the feelings of Paolo Lorenzi as a former player for the first time: “Different feeling. First of all because I didn’t have to prepare to go to the Australian Open. Very different than usual, but I had prepared myself for this moment. My body couldn’t take it anymore. Looking back I think I was quite unconscious.
When things did not go, I believed I could become a level player, in the top 100 or even in the top 50. Regarding that period, those certainties were not there. But this unconsciousness has been my luck, I have never doubted my abilities and not to make it.”
Lorenzi: “Berrettini and Sinner can already win a Slam”
The turning point: “The match with Nadal at the Foro Italico in 2011. I was out of the top 100 in the world, I went through the qualifiers and managed to play on par with the number 1 in the world on clay. That game made me realize that I could play equally with everyone, I think it was an important step for my confidence. Then the results took a while to arrive, but that day I realized that I could reach that level.”
On the look he had on the new generation at the time when he was the Italian number 1: “In the last few interviews I said that in a few years we would have many great players. From the front we could see that the guys who were coming out were very strong.
I trained with them, as with Jannik Sinner, and I was with Matteo Berrettini in some tournaments. We knew they would hit these levels. But I think my generation was an example for them to follow, showing that by working well they could achieve certain kinds of results. Then they put the talent in it and it was the extra key to get them where they are now: if you have two players in the top 10, it means that they are phenomena.
Merits to those who were there before, but they also have many merits. We are lucky to have Berrettini and Sinner in the top 10 who can already win a Grand Slam: Matteo at Wimbledon was the strongest after Djokovic, after winning the Queen’s.
The only other strong player is Zverev, but the Roman has plenty of chances. And staying on the lawn, Jannik also has a chance to improve: with Fucsovics, who reached the quarterfinals, he played an excellent match.”