Before facing the world No. 1, Luca Nardi declared at a press conference that he had admired Novak Djokovic since he was a child: “I find his way of moving on the court, his elasticity and his speed impressive. His ability to stay focused and be mentally strong is one of his great virtues. Novak is my childhood idol, I grew up with a poster of him in my room,” he laughed before facing the Serb. And despite his victory, Luca Nardi affirmed “that he will keep it, that’s for sure.”

Carlos Alcaraz and Luca Nardi know each other well. Both from the 2003 generation (Carlos Alcaraz being the older of the two players, by three months and a day), the two men regularly competed against each other in the different junior categories. Although they have not yet met on the professional circuit, the two men have faced each other four times, for… four victories for the current world No. 2. “But I had match points twice,” defended Luca Nardi in an interview for Gazzetta dello Sport. Asked about possible anecdotes with his Spanish colleague, the Italian replied that he had a lot… but that he preferred to keep them to himself.

Italy has become a tennis country. Besides two Roland-Garros won consecutively by Nicola Pietrangeli (1959-1960), the Transalpines have never really shone on the ATP circuit. Fabio Fognini has also had some remarkable breakthroughs, but the Italian has never known a generation as golden as the one that is emerging. Jannik Sinner of course (22 years old, 3rd ATP), Lorenzo Musetti (22 years old, 26th ATP), but also Matteo Arnaldi (23 years old, 40th), Flavio Cobolli (21 years old, 62nd) and Luca Nardi (20 years old, 123rd) are all gaining momentum.

Luca Nardi particularly marvels at Jannik Sinner, recent winner of the Australian Open, who pushes him to always work harder: “I admire Jannik for what he does. I had the chance to train with him many times. I always try to learn from him, because he is very nice, very hardworking and it is beautiful what he does for Italy, for our country, for Italian tennis which is becoming more and more popular . I hope I can join him with the results, in life. Never say never. I watch all his matches, he pushes me to become better,” he said after qualifying for the round of 16 in Indian Wells.

In his free time, Luca Nardi loves going on motorcycle trips. Where does his passion come from? Perhaps from Valentino Rossi, seven-time Moto GP world champion and also a native of eastern Italy. Apart from tennis, he also likes padel, very popular in Italy.