First-Time Winner Spotlight: Lorenzo Sonego
Lorenzo Sonego began 2019 with five tour-level wins. Yet, the 24-year-old Italian earned five victories this week alone en route to claiming his first ATP Tour title at the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya, an ATP 250 tournament.
Sonego, who reached the quarter-finals of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters this April as a qualifier, faced championship point against #NextGenATP Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the final. But he used a big serve to get out of trouble, and never looked back.
ATPTour.com caught up with Sonego after his win...
You entered Antalya with six straight tour-level losses. Now you are an ATP Tour champion. How does it feel?
This is tennis. Today you win, tomorrow you lose. Today I won a tournament, tomorrow I need to focus on Wimbledon. I need to start again from the first round. It’s tough because all the players are very good, but I love it. My team and I focus on getting better. The better I become, the more stable the results will be.
Already in 2019, four different Italians have won ATP Tour titles. How do you explain the rise of the Italians?
We are a great group of friends. We push each other and we motivate each other. We often practise together, especially with Matteo [Berrettini]. I think that Italy has a great tennis future ahead.
In the final, you hit 25 aces and saved the only break point you faced on championship point. Was that the best serving performance of your career?
Well on the grass it’s easier to hit aces, but I am satisfied with how I served during the whole week. We have been working for months on improving the serve.
You lost the first set in three of your five matches this week. How do you explain your ability to come back, especially in the heat of Antalya?
I don’t really care when I lose a set or two or I am down in the final set. I just get more and more intense while the matches progress. I don’t get easily tired, so losing a set is not a major problem.
You’ve qualified for six tournaments in 2019. Has that been the key to your rise in your confidence this season?
Yes, for sure. The step from Challengers to Tour events is not easy at all. I had difficulties in winning Challengers and now I win an ATP event, it’s amazing. But I think that the real confidence boost has been the week in Monte-Carlo. I arrived from Marrakech without sleep, as I had travelled all night and I qualified and reached the quarter-finals. There I understood I would not go back to playing Challengers anymore.
You had to finish your semi-final and play the final on Saturday. How difficult was it to go to sleep on Friday with so much to do before you could win the title?
I was calm, not stressed at all. I slept good. Maybe Pablo needed to be stressed. I needed two games, he needed two games and one more set. I knew that he had had difficulties in returning my serve so I knew I would get my chances.