Matteo Arnaldi is an Italian tennis player born in Sanremo, Italy. He is currently 21 years old and currently ranked 204 in singles and 286 in doubles which are both his career-high rankings. He has two ITF singles titles and won his first challenger title this past May in Francavilla al Mare, Italy. He earned his highest-ranked win against the ATP 138 last week. You can follow along with his tournament results here and check out his journey on Instagram here. Keep reading to check out our interview with him and learn more about him!
- At what age did you know you wanted to become a professional tennis player?
When I started playing tennis I was 5 years old but I always played a lot of sports and then at the age of 11 I was playing tennis and swimming at the same time. But when you are young, swimming is a bit boring so I decided to play just tennis and when I arrived on the junior tour at 16 years old, I decided and I thought it was possible to become a professional tennis player.
- What was it like training in Italy? Did you train mainly on clay courts? Was it at an academy?
Training in Italy in my city was the best choice for me because I live in Sanremo and there the winter is like 15-18 degrees so it’s perfect because it’s not too cold. The name of the academy is Tennis Sanremo and mainly they have clay courts but I grew up playing on hard courts so I prefer to play there.
- What was it like growing up? Did you play other sports as a kid?
As I mentioned before, I played a lot of sports during my childhood time, including tennis, swimming, judo, sky, and football. Swimming and tennis were my favorites but then I decided to stick to tennis, but when I see a pool or the sea I like to swim a lot. Sanremo is a city with a nice sea so I love that too.
- When did you decide to go pro? Did you ever consider taking the U.S college tennis route to go pro?
When you play the junior tour you see what tennis life can look like so there I took the decision to be a pro and to focus all my energy on that. I never considered the opportunity to go to the US college just because I always had a good situation at home and I wanted to become a professional player just after the juniors. But I always liked the idea to be there.
- What was it like playing the Junior Grand Slams? Was there a higher level of nervousness when playing them?
Yeah for sure that was the best experience of my life and also now coming back as a pro was something special. It was a bit more nerve-wracking the way I got on the courts there but I think it’s normal.
- Were you more nervous playing the junior grand slams or playing for your first ATP point? Do you remember winning your first ATP point?
I was more nervous playing the grand slams just because you are around when the pro players are the biggest name in tennis and you play in a big stadium. It was amazing getting my first ATP point but playing the Grand Slams were more special to me.
- Did you get a sense of confidence and trust that you would be successful on tour once you won your first ITF tournament?
I mean after I won that I had more confidence in myself and then I started to play higher quality tennis in every tournament so I would say yes my trust in myself was higher than ever.
- What do you think the biggest difference is between ITF tournaments and ATP Challengers?
I think that the difference between these two is that in the challenger tour everyone plays very good from the first round to the final so every match is tough, in the ITF if you are stronger than the other player the first round is always easier and also during the match you have more time to think about what you are doing. Meanwhile in the ATP if you just try to think about what are you doing you will have already lost 3 games.
- What has been your favorite tournament to play? And what is your favorite country to travel to?
My favorite tournament is Rome and this year I had the opportunity to play there and it was with the slams. It was one of my most memorable and emotional tournaments and matches, and I’m grateful for that. I love the USA and Australia to travel to also. I love the people and the cities there.
- What has been your favorite memory on tour so far?
Playing my first Masters 1000 in Rome and winning my first challenger title in Francavilla.
- Did it feel different winning your first ATP Challenger tournament compared to your first ITF title?
Yes because it was in Italy with all the people that were supporting me and I don’t know why but winning my first challenger hit me differently, more excited, and happier than ever.
- Can you explain your experience playing against Cilic in Rome in your home country?
It was something that is difficult to describe, playing on center court, with the stadium almost full, my friends and my family watching, in my favorite place, it was just an unbelievable experience.
- Do you have any goals for 2022?
My first goal was to play the qualifiers at a grand slam and I did it at Wimbledon now I will play the US Open next, then I’d like to play the Next Gen Finals and be in the top 100 by the end of the year.
- What do you feel you need to do to break the top 100 ATP?
Just being more consistent during the whole year and I think with a lot of work and matches at this level I can get there.
- If you had one piece of advice for young tennis players what would it be?
Follow your dreams, never give up and work hard for what u would like to do. EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
Thank you for reading this interview with Matteo. It feels great to be back posting again! Stay tuned for more interviews and do not be afraid to leave a follow, like, and comment!