The SuperNews agency interviewed Matthew Arnaldi, 21-year-old Italian tennis player from Sanremo, number 275 in the ATP ranking. Matteo did his start at ATP level against Marin Cilic on the main game board Italian International Bnltournament in which he played first time in the race thanks to the wild card obtained with the success in the pre-qualifiers.
Unfortunately, the match against the Croatian ended in a 6/1 6/4 loss, but Arnaldi, at 21, is only at the beginning of a long and exciting tennis coursewhose best result was the Challenger semifinal achieved in the Split tournament.
Matteo, what emotion did you try to enter the Foro Italico for the first time, to play the qualifiers first and the match against Cilic in the main draw later?
I felt a mixture of emotions. It was the first time for me at the Foro Italico, also because being from Sanremo is a bit uncomfortable, I usually attend the Monte Carlo tournament. So to get here to Rome and see this structure was fantastic, I was excited just to go inside. The qualifying tournament went very well. I started like this, but then, playing, I got used to it and it couldn’t be better than this. Yesterday’s match was perhaps the strongest emotion I have ever felt in my life: entering through the middle, facing a Grand Slam-winning tennis player and number 3 in the world and playing it evenly in the second set, with the entire public present. supporting me is something I will never forget.
The match against the Croatian 61 64 is over. Did you expect that kind of play from your opponent? Are you happy with how you played or could you have done better?
Yes, I already knew Cilic, I also studied him with my team. I’m definitely not that happy with the game, because I could have done better. In the first set a little bit of emotion made the difference, in the second I started to play better, I had some chances, but in general I couldn’t express myself the way I wanted. But it’s still the first game at these levels, a big dream, so it can be there. I take this experience in a positive way, I learn the lesson and leave it for the rest of the season.
Do you think that against a rival other than Cilic you would have had more chances to continue in the Roman 1000?
Maybe I caught the opponent who could have annoyed me the most. I took one of the strongest, I did not have a very lucky draw. Cilic is a player who plays a lot of one-two, with a very fast game, a great serve and a great forehand. With Croatian it is not possible to exchange much. Let’s just say he wasn’t the ideal opponent to face in the first round. Playing against him later in the tournament would have been something else, but in the first round, where you still have to get used to everything, an opponent who traded a little more, who didn’t make as many winners, would have helped me. and it didn’t serve as strong. . Ultimately though, every tournament is a new opportunity, so this was a great opportunity for me.
One of his best results was the semifinal at the Challenger level reached in the Split tournament, which ended with a defeat against O’Connell, Australian tennis player class 1994 n.125 of the ATP ranking. What’s left of that game? What emotion did you feel having reached a step of the final without unfortunately reaching it?
It was a strange tournament. It rained almost every day, so there were a lot of postponements. That day, in the quarterfinals, I won a three-hour match against Arnaboldi, and in the afternoon I had to face O’Connell, so I was quite tired. The game was close, it was good, but it must also be said that the Australian was a little less tired than me, since he only played an hour and a half in the morning. I’m sorry I couldn’t play that semi-final to the fullest, but it was a fantastic tournament, thanks to which I started to play my best tennis.
You have come a long way that has led you to debut at the ATP level and play at the Internazionali di Roma: how far do you feel you have come? How much do you feel you have grown?
A lot, even just with yesterday’s game. Although I didn’t play well, yesterday’s is a game that makes you grow. Playing against a top 100, playing a Masters 1000 for the first time, in the central Foro Italico, with many spectators… I don’t need to mention other tournaments, only yesterday’s match was the one that made me grow in tennis and morally throughout the whole the season.
These days Carlos Alcaraz, only 19 years old, has consecutively beaten two tennis monsters such as Nadal and Djokovic and has won, after the 500 in Barcelona and the 1000 in Miami, also the Masters 1000 in Madrid, surpassing Zverev by 63 in the final. final 61. I ask you if, in your opinion, a star was born who could reach the level of the “fab3” of this sport and if, in light of the latest successes, he would also have won at the Foro Italico. if he had participated.
Yes, he plays very well and is doing something incredible. Sure it has the basics to really get high, but it still has a long way to go before it can be compared to those three. He is playing very well, he has all the potential to become one of the strongest in history, but the road is still long. After all, Alcaraz is still only 19 years old.
The next two Grand Slams of the season will be Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Will you play the playoffs? What will be your next sports commitments?
I don’t know yet, because I didn’t think I would qualify for the main draw here in Rome. I could play the ATP 250 qualifiers in Geneva, unfortunately I will not do them for Roland Garros because I have not entered the entry list.
What is your season goal? Play as many games as possible, experience experiences like this and grow. Of course, then there are others, like the Australian Open draw or finishing in the top 100, but these are long-term goals.