Luca Nardi has moved to the edge of the top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after a strong season at ATP Challenger Tour level. In addition to his two Challenger titles this season in Portugal and Japan, Nardi also claimed a main draw win during qualifying for the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in April.
But what’s the 20-year-old like off the field? ATPTour.com caught up with the world number 115 in Jeddah to discuss his love of motorbikes, football and more…
If you could have dinner with three famous people, who would they be and why?
Valentino Rossi. He is from my city. I’m from Pesaro, so definitely with Valle. Then Roger Federer. I’m a tennis player, and everyone loves Federer. And I don’t know, maybe with the top model? I don’t know which one.
Describe your ideal day if you were not playing tennis?
I have a motorcycle, and as I said, I’m from the same city as Valentino, so everyone in my family has a motorcycle, and it’s part of the culture of our city to have a motorcycle. So I’ll go for a ride for a few hours in the morning and maybe in the afternoon, I like to play padel. I definitely play football with my friends because I love watching football and I always try to stay in touch with everything that happens in Italy with football and yes, this is my perfect day.
Who do you support in football?
Naples, because my father is from Naples.
They won the league last year, didn’t they?
Yes, it’s a very good time! This was the third time in history.
If you had to choose between attending a concert or a sporting event, which would you choose and why?
A sporting event of course…football. In my city, basketball is more popular because we have a team in the first league. But honestly, I don’t like it very much. So I would say a football match.
Who are the players closest to you in Jeddah, and who are your best friends on the tour?
I’ve known these guys since we were kids, so we know each other pretty well. I have a good relationship with Flavio [Cobolli]. Like I said, I’ve known him since I was eight years old. I am very good friends with him.
But if I had to say another Italian guy, it would probably be Francesco Maestrelli. He’s not here but I have a very good relationship with him. I was with him at the academy.
If you weren’t a tennis player, what job would you want?
Honestly, I never thought about it because I’ve always played tennis. I don’t know why, but I love physical therapy. I don’t know why, but I like it.
As is the case every year at the Next Gen ATP Finals, the tournament will test a lot of different rules and innovations. What are your thoughts on them? Is there one you’re interested in trying?
The latest is not the warm-up. Everyone is definitely excited to see how it goes. And honestly for me, I don’t like it very much because I’m not the kind of player who starts the match very well. So for me, I think it’s going to be difficult. So I have to warm up before the match very well. But I don’t know, let’s see what happens. Maybe I’ll enjoy it with this.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from competing on the ATP Challenger Tour and ATP Tour this year, after a successful qualifying season for Jeddah?
Honestly, I wouldn’t say I had a good year. Maybe in the last month, yes, but over the whole year I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I have been injured for 2 months and it has not helped.
Definitely the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that in every game you have to play 100%. You don’t have a game that you can go to the stadium and relax. Every match, Challenger Tour, ATP Tour, whatever it is, you have to focus 100% on every point.