Lorenzo Musetti believes Roger Federer is the greatest of all time, although it was Rafael Nadal who was his first tennis idol.
Musetti is beginning to make major strides himself, breaking into the top 100, and he beat veteran Feliciano Lopez in Barcelona on Tuesday.
His game has been likened to that of Federer, with him being a finesse player with a one-handed backhand, and so it is perhaps unsurprising that he holds the Swiss maestro in the highest regard.
“At first my idol was Nadal, perhaps due to the fact of being left-handed and because as a child you like to see someone with their gestures on the court, who says ‘let’s go’,” Musetti said.
“I have great respect for Rafa. Then I switched to Federer because I identify with his one-handed backhand. [Federer] is the GOAT for me because of what he has achieved and because of his elegant way of playing. He is a role model both on and off the court.
“I was warming [Federer] up last year for a game at the Australian Open. It is an indelible memory because we trained at the Rod Laver Arena. It was very exciting for me to meet the one who is my idol.
“It all came through Ivan Ljubicic, who knows my coach and speaks Italian. He asked me the day before, around ten at night, if I could train with Roger.
“Of course I was free because I had lost in the last of the previous and had signed as a ‘lucky loser’. It was a great day for me.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?