Enrico Dalla Valle, good things come to those who wait

Two Italians in the semi-final: Enrico Dalla Valle dominates Tseng and reaps the first fruits of a fierce dedication, between the bond with coach Galimberti and the gradual approach to the major circuit. “Today I played all the points with the same intensity”

Since he was a boy, anyone who knew Enrico Dalla Valle said of him that ” he cares a lot, perhaps too much. A passion that risked influencing him negatively .” We don’t know if it’s true, but there’s no doubt that the man from Ravenna has impeccable professionalism, the approach to the profession that every coach dreams of. “ I care a lot ,” he reiterates after reaching the second Challenger semi-final of his career. The first dates back to last August in Cordenons, now he dreams of taking a step further at the ASPRIA Tennis Cup – BCS Trophy (€74,825, clay) , where he won two matches on the first real day of summer heat. In the morning he beat his friend Giovanni Fonio (forced to retire with a score of 7-6 6-5 due to violent cramps in both legs), in the afternoon he achieved a good exploit against Chun-Hsin Tseng, a 6-0 6 -4 which fills us with certainties about his physical condition, given that he seemed very brilliant compared to a much lighter opponent and therefore – in theory – more suitable for a Stop&Go . Instead he played a splendid match. Neat, right, perfect . After dominating the first set, he took a break at the start of the second and carried it to the end, moreover after having had four matchpoints at 5-3. No problem: he played the last game with great attention and leaned against the fence of Court 13, tired but happy. “ Playing two matches in one day, in this heat, was very difficult. Against Fonio it was a physical and emotional match, I spent a lot – says Dalla Valle – immediately after I ate: I believe that nutrition and integration are the most important thing for playing immediately afterwards. I didn’t think I’d feel so good: half an hour before the match, when I got active, I felt the fatigue of the first match, but as soon as I got on the pitch I immediately felt good .” The same cannot be said for “Jason” (Tseng’s Western nickname), who had won an equally tough match against Gianluca Mager in the morning. After a bad first set, in the second he tried everything, playing several Changhian moon balls to ensnare the blue. Dalla Valle was excellent, playing every point with the same intensity, even mending a service game in which he had been at 0-40 . “ The goal of playing all the points with the same intensity is something I have set for myself for some time: sometimes I succeed, sometimes it is more complicated, but when I have been good I think it is fair to say so. Today I fought hard for every ball and I think it paid off. I have to continue like this, because the big names do it every week. I have to try to imitate them ”.


The concept of “caring a lot” often intersects with a strong character, which sometimes leads him to be nervous on the pitch. It is natural to ask ourselves whether this characteristic is a flaw to be ironed out or something that certifies commitment and dedication. “ For better or for worse it is a peculiarity of mine. It’s part of my character: without remembering the past, I know I’ve experienced bad moments and therefore I care a lot about every match. With my mental coach we are working to release anger and nervousness only on the ball, and in any case make sure that it does not preclude the performance . Apart from the strongest, each has its own character. I can do better, but there has been progress .” The beauty of Dalla Valle, and what instinctively leads us to like him, is his full dedication to the objective. Even during the interview he remained true to himself, pouring the supplement into his water bottle to recover quickly. On the other hand he had played the last point less than half an hour earlier. The Romagna native has been training for a year and a half at Giorgio Galimberti’s academy in Cattolica. It is clear that Luca Nardi’s exit from the team was not well received, but the other side of the coin could be Galimberti’s greater willingness to follow Dalla Valle. “ I’ll be honest: when Luca left the team I was very sad. We weren’t that close before, but in early 2024 we became very good friends. I was happy to share training and some tournaments with him, then he made a sensational leap and the programs diversified. I love him very much and I’m a big fan of him: someone like him, for a coach like Galimberti, required a certain commitment and had different needs from mine. However, it never bothered me, on the contrary, I saw it as an incentive to do better. I learned a lot from him, perhaps in a small way he took something from me. Now we’re missing a player like him, but Giorgio has his own academy, I’m satisfied with the work and when he can travel with me I’m happy. I hope you can see us together more often, he would like to say that things are going well .” Given that Galimberti and Dalla Valle both have strong characters, it was interesting to know how the fit between the two was. On this point, Dalla Valle reveals a curious anecdote. “ I will make you smile: before I moved to Cattolica there was a period of 2-3 years in which we didn’t speak to each other or even say hello. The reason had been a useless, futile disagreement. On the other hand, it was normal for two strong characters to clash, but beyond that I have always had great respect for him.. The choice to move to Cattolica came about a bit by chance, but today I am very satisfied with the collaboration. He is a very passionate person and our characters fit together well: he knows how to alternate carrots and sticks in the right way, he was an excellent player and knows how to manage my personality and my game. I am grateful to him and all the staff of the academy ”


Dalla Valle turned 26 last March, but has not yet played on the ATP circuit (except for one appearance in the Acapulco qualifiers). Can it weigh? “ I’ll start by saying that I lost two full years between Covid and physical problems: this must be considered in the growth of a player – says Enrico – however it doesn’t weigh on me, because to get your nose into ATP tournaments you need the ranking. I have to build that one with the Challengers, if I’m good I’ll deserve to get there. I’m in no hurry: if and when I get there it will be a source of pride, but now I’m enjoying what I’m doing .” Fair reflection, but where is Enrico Dalla Valle at? He is currently number 242 ATP, however with the expiring bills of two consecutive victories in ITF tournaments in June 2023. The numbers say that he has a balance sheet of 8 victories (including the one with Tseng) and 12 defeats against players between the 100th and the 200th position . What does it mean? “ Everyone has the ranking they deserve, and I’m where I should – he explains – this year I could have been a little higher because I lost a couple of daring matches. If the numbers say this, however, it means I need to do better. I am convinced that I can compete with anyone, I even beat a top 100 player (Alexandre Muller, ed.). Those who don’t follow tennis properly struggle to understand how close the level is: maybe you beat a top-100 player and then the next day you lose to a guy outside the 400. If the number 80 doesn’t play well, he can easily lose to someone higher up. Bass. You can’t always be fit, but there’s no doubt that I will try to turn the statistic on its head .” To reach his first Challenger final in his career he will have to beat the Romanian Filip Cristian Jianu, a 23-year-old who reached the semi-final thanks to the victory against Marco Cecchinato in the round of 16 (6-1 7-5) and the one gained thanks to the withdrawal of Elmer Moller in the quarter-finals. Surprise result, since the Dane had made a great impression by clearly beating Juan Pablo Varillas, number 2 on the scoreboard. Jianu is in form, he has won three ITF tournaments this year and is appearing on the Challenger circuit, but it is a match that the blue can play. In case of victory, the goal of playing the US Open qualifiers would be very, very close.