He played a great match against Maximilian Marterer, showing us that he can be on equal footing with the guy who is in the Top 50 in the world and played round four of Roland Garros. It is just a pity that he couldn’t round off his great game with a win, as Marterer wasn’t better than him in any way.
But it is what it is. In tennis, only the final outcome matters; the fact that you played better does not mean much. We trained several times over the past few days here in Umag and I am glad I was able to give him some advice. Especially since he played against a lefthanded guy and we lefties tend to think and play a bit differently.
Still, he needed to use that in the match and was actually doing it really well. So, it’s a pity that that break happened at the very end of the second set. Had he hung in there and reached the tiebreak, I believe he would have won. However, he made a few mistakes in those key moments, lost that game and set, and you cannot get away with it at this level of competing. But that is something that he needs to go through and will learn from. This will certainly not be the last match that he will lose this way.
Either way, Nino played the most mature match of his career. He is still young and his game and ranking will certainly get better. He showed us he deserved the wild card and his biggest takeaway from this match is that playing against guys who are 150 places ahead of you in the rankings is no science fiction. He has improved greatly in the past year and will soon join the Top 100 as his game is such that he deserves it.
Unfortunately, we have also lost Franko Škugor, even though I secretly hoped he could surprise us all. This season he managed to qualify for a few ATP singles events, which means that he is good in the singles competition as well. I guess he failed to adapt to clay, seeing as he had just come from Wimbledon where he played in the doubles semifinals. He was also up against a talented opponent who had already played in two qualification matches.