Mere qualification for the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu is proof of a promising career in the making, according to Italy’s junior world No. 7 Lorenzo Musetti.

The 16-year-old enjoyed a strong second half to the Grand Slam season; reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before barging his way to the final of the US Open, only to succumb to Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.

In addition to his solid showings under the glare of the Grand Slam spotlight, Musetti, who will be the youngest competitor in the boys’ draw in China, has also chalked up three singles titles on the Junior Circuit in 2018.

Not only does Carrara-born Musetti believe the opportunity to showcase his talents in Chengdu is a worthy reward for plenty of industry this year, but insists it also represents confirmation that his on-court endeavours are progressing nicely.

“At the beginning of the season, qualifying for the ITF Junior Masters was a dream, although as the year progressed it became a goal,” said Musetti. “I have worked very well this year and the results have come.

“Reaching the Masters, especially considering I will be the youngest player in the boys’ draw, gives me more motivation to trust the process and to always trust the people around me who really care.”

As with most other qualifiers, the opportunity to test his skills against the best junior players on the planet is a major attraction for Musetti as preparations for the ITF Junior Masters intensify.

Nobody within the boys’ or girls’ draws appears ready to take a backward step, sentiments which tournament debutant Musetti echoes, with all competition entrants believing they have strong claims for a shot at glory.

“I am very excited for my ITF Junior Masters debut, it will be a very nice experience,” added Musetti. “I will play with the best [junior] players in the world and it will give me plenty of experience. It will also be a big step towards my professional career.

“You only have to look at last year’s boys’ winner Emil Ruusuvuori [the lowest-ranked player in 2017 to play in Chengdu], and he gives me inspiration that I can win. Everybody is at the same level and anybody can win.”

Since 2017, the ITF Junior Masters, which this year will take place between 22-28 October, has been fully incorporated into the 18-and-under ITF Junior Circuit, and offers junior world ranking points which help determine the year-end No. 1 ranking.

The boys’ and girls’ singles events consist of two round-robin groups of four players with the top two in each group qualifying for the semifinals.



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