Paolo Lorenzi recalls playing Rafael Nadal at Rome Masters

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Paolo Lorenzi recalls playing Rafael Nadal at Rome Masters

Italian tennis player Paolo Lorenzi, 38, admits playing Rafael Nadal at the Rome Masters has been one of the best memories of his career. Lorenzi, ranked at No. 121 in the world, clashed against Nadal on the clay courts of the Rome Masters in 2011.

Nadal, who is considered the greatest clay court player ever, entered the match as a huge favorite but Lorenzi made him work hard for the victory. Former world No. 33 Lorenzi won a tight opener before record 12-time French Open champion Nadal stormed back to win 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-0 and progress into the round-of-16.

Previously, Lorenzi made it past the qualifying event and beat Brazilian Thoma Bellucci in the first round to set up a meeting against Nadal. "It is a beautiful memory that I carry inside, all my friends were there to see me.

Against Nadal I wanted to leave a good impression," Lorenzi told LiveTennis. Lorenzi also added that he played above his level and that the match against Nadal helped him to realize that he can further improve and compete against the best.

Lorenzi enjoyed the best years of his tennis career only a few years ago as he claimed his maiden ATP title in 2016 and achieved a career-high ranking a year later. The 38-year-old Italian lifted his first ATP title on the clay courts of Kitzbuhel after beating Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final.

"It was a great satisfaction, the greatest of my career," Lorenzi recalled winning Kitzbuhel. Lorenzi's best days are behind him but the 38-year-old Italian still isn't ready to put an end to his professional career.