Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

The New Italian Diamond That Is Darderi

Clay-court tennis

It is quite a remarkable feat that Luciano Darderi, who turned 22 yesterday and was sitting outside the top 200 this time last year, now holds a career-high ranking of world No. 76 with an ATP title to his name.

Born in the resort city of Villa Gesell Partido, Buenos Aires, the Argentinian capital, the young Darderi moved to Italy at the age of eleven and now carries an Italian passport – his grandfather being Tuscan.

Coached by his father, Luciano Sr, a former tennis player, Darderi became the seventh active Italian player on tour to capture an ATP title, rose to No. 6 on the Italian player’s leaderboard, and his ranking jumped from No. 104 to 76. But how did it all start?

Junior Career/Challenger Titles

During his junior career, he rose to become No. 8 in the world after title wins in Cuenca, Lambare, and Porto Alegre in 2020. He pulled the curtains in that phase of his career in a second-round defeat to runner-up Arthur Fils at the 2021 French Open and turned pro subsequently after. Darderi secured his first title as a professional player at the ITF M15 in Monastir, Tunisia, in his 14th attempt – a straight sets win over Argentinian Santiago Fa Rodriguez.

Now ranked outside the top 200, he made his ATP debut on the dirt of Cordoba as a qualifier in 2023 and defeated Hugo Gaston in his maiden match. Darderi quickly followed that up with an appearance at the main draw of the Mexican Open as a lucky loser following the withdrawal of Carlos Alcaraz.

He pulled a gear back to the Challenger series and lost his first final in Buenos Aires to Thiago Seyboth Wild in straight sets. However, in August of the same year, he was able to secure his first title, defeating Frenchman Clement Tabur in three sets. Darderi endured another three sets before defeating Mariano Navone to win his second Challenger title in Lima, jacking up his ranking to world No. 125.

Darderi’s Playing Style

Darderi is a right-handed (two-handed backhand) player who is very solid from the baseline but can also explode with speed when required. He has always said his favorite surface is “outdoor concrete,” but all his titles have been on clay. Darderi has shown he loves the dirt but has a powerful serve and forehand that can trouble any opponent on faster surfaces.

Career-Defining Win

After the Australian Open, Darderi found himself at No. 136 in the world and had to go through the qualifiers to make a main draw appearance at the ATP event in Cordoba. A run of seven incredible victories, including a crucial semifinal win against the defending champion Sebastian Baez has, as he remarked, “opened him to a whole new world of possibilities.”

Darderi’s win in Cordoba, made even more remarkable as a qualifier, has cemented his reputation as one of the most promising young players in the game.

The Future Looks Bright

Following his superb win in Cordoba, it was expected that he’d slow down in Buenos Aires. However, Darderi switched gears and comprehensively outclassed Mariano Navone in straight sets, conceding only three games. Next up, he once again squares off against Sebastian Baez.

With his sights set on the future, Darderi is ready and looks confident that he’ll make his mark in the world of tennis.

Main Photo Credit: Matthias Hauer/GEPA via USA TODAY Sports

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