Hubert Hurkacz did not expect to be at the Nitto ATP Finals at the start of 2021, but nearly 11 months later he has made history.
Hurkacz is just the second Polish singles player to reach the season finale, joining Wojtek Fibak. The 24-year-old has been soaking it all in since arriving in Turin this week.
“It’s emotional. It’s super cool to be here. I’m very excited to play in the Finals,” Hurkacz said. “It’s such a small group of people playing here and so much fun. That atmosphere is going to be amazing with the Italian fans.”
At the beginning of the season, Hurkacz was outside the Top 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau changed everything for the Pole.
“The beginning of the year, probably not. I didn’t think about it. Then later in the year after winning the Miami title, obviously that put me higher in the Race and then suddenly you think yeah, you might have a chance to qualify,” Hurkacz said. “Probably since then maybe I was thinking a little bit I would have a chance.”
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for ATP
Hurkacz was the last player to earn his place at the Pala Alpitour, but he is now in alongside the likes of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and defending champion Daniil Medvedev. It is a special moment for Polish tennis, since Iga Swiatek is competing in the WTA Finals this week.
“I think it’s amazing. Iga has been playing pretty amazing tennis,” Hurkacz said. “She won a Grand Slam, so that’s so special for the whole country and for tennis in our country. Now that we both have qualified this year for the Finals, it’s great. It’s going to grow the sport in Poland and it’s just something really, really amazing.”
The seventh seed mentioned that the court is “quite fast” and that the balls are “also quite fast”, which he will try to take advantage of with his big serve. He is in the Red Group with Medvedev, 2018 winner Alexander Zverev and home favourite Matteo Berrettini.
“Both of the groups are super tough. Just eight guys qualified here,” Hurkacz said. “We will see [what happens].”