'The Bachelor': Joey Graziadei Named as Next Leading Man for Season 28

The tennis pro fought for Charity Lawson's heart on season 20 of 'The Bachelorette' but was sadly dumped in the finale episode

Warning: This post contains spoilers from Monday's finale of The Bachelorette.

He's found success on the court, but now Joey Graziadei wants to find everlasting love as the next Bachelor!

Jesse Palmer announced on Monday's Bachelorette finale that Graziadei, 28, will take the lead for The Bachelor season 28, which is set to air in 2024.

Graziadei called the honor "surreal."

"It's sinking in very slowly but I'm trying my best just to stay present, enjoy it, but this is crazy," Graziadei said. "I mean, I'll be the first person to say this is wild. I never expected this at all, didn’t know this is what my life is turning at this moment. So yeah, crazy stuff, but I'm excited."

The tennis pro from Collegeville, Pennsylvania made it to the final two on Charity Lawson’s season of The Bachelorette, but was sadly dumped in the finale before Lawson decided to accept Dotun Olubeko’s proposal.

Palmer, 44, asked Graziadei if he felt ready for love after breaking up with Lawson.

"I'm more ready than I was in that moment," Graziadei said. "For me, it was just, you have to take some time to get a little bit more closure. Watching Dotun and Charity's connection was enough for me."

Graziadei said the breakup ultimately "opened up a part of me that wanted something so bad."

Related: All of 'The Bachelorette' Couples Who Are Still Together

Graziadei proceeded to tell Palmer about what he wanted in a future partner: "Someone that’s just themselves that I can truthfully be a partner with. I want someone that challenges me. I want someone that I can challenge. I just want someone to do life with. I just want someone that's going to be my person."

Palmer introduced Graziadei to the first suitor from his season, Leia, who'd been sitting in the audience of After the Final Rose. "I think we have a lot in common, so I'm excited to kind of explore that," she said to Graziadei.

Graziadei was a fan favorite from the start and appeared to be a front-runner towards the end of the series as Lawson, 27, and Graziadei exchanged “I love yous” during Fantasy Suite week and spent the night together.

“I can do that for the rest of my life for sure,” he told the cameras afterwards.

At the end of his last date with Lawson, Graziadei felt confident about proposing. But when it came time for an engagement, Lawson told him she found "deeper with someone else.”

“It won’t make sense in this moment and it’s hard. It’s hard to get these words out because the truth is, Joey, that I am in love with you,” she said.

<p>ABC/Craig Sjodin</p> Charity and Joey on 'The Bachelorette'

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Charity and Joey on 'The Bachelorette'

After they parted ways, Graziadei told the cameras how badly he wanted to find love.

“I want love bad,” he said. “I think it’s just showing me how badly I want to be with someone else and get an opportunity to share life with them because that’s all I can think of. I just want to ask the universe, when is it going to happen to me?”

Following the emotional moment, Lawson told PEOPLE she found it tough to turn down Graziadei.

“Seeing Joey was not easy, and saying goodbye was really hard for me,” the Georgia native said. “The emotions just overcame me, rightfully so. Throughout this whole journey for me, saying goodbye to anyone was not an easy thing to do, but especially at that point when you have formed some connection, that was difficult for me. I don't want to be the person that has to contribute to someone else's pain, but it was necessary.”

<p>ABC/Craig Sjodin</p> Joey Graziadei and Charity Lawson on season 20 of 'The Bachelorette'

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Joey Graziadei and Charity Lawson on season 20 of 'The Bachelorette'

Despite that, she and Olubeko, 30, know Graziadei will do a great job as the next Bachelor.

“We truly wish him nothing but the best,” she said. “We saw how much of a lover boy Joey is and how much he wants his person. I do believe that he is going to have no problem finding that. He is an incredible person. We're both rooting for him and rooting for his success."

Olubeko also said he found Graziadei to be “very intentional” and thinks that will help him out on his journey to find love.

“I think that's going to lend very well to the show,” the integrative medicine special said, adding that he and Lawson are “both excited to watch that journey.”

Before Graziadei’s search for love kicks off, Gerry Turner will look for his second shot at love when The Golden Bachelor premieres on Sept. 28. Bachelor in Paradise season 9 also premieres the same night.

<p>Craig Sjodin/ABC</p> Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner with host Jesse Palmer

Craig Sjodin/ABC

Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner with host Jesse Palmer

“I want to fall in love, I really want to find my person who can put me in my place when I need it and make me smile at it,” Turner, 71, said in a promo for The Golden Bachelor. “The person who can lay down beside you at night, not have to say anything and you feel it. That’s love. That’s what I want and I know that person’s out there."

Turner’s wife Toni died unexpectedly after being diagnosed with a bacterial infection. The couple had two daughters, who eventually gave Turner two granddaughters. Turner’s kids and grandkids all support him becoming the first Golden Bachelor.

Related: The Bachelorette's Brayden Says He Can't Take Show Drama 'Too Seriously' After 'Men Tell All' (Exclusive)

"I want to find that person that I know is the right one,” Turner said to his daughters and granddaughters in another promo for the upcoming season. “I know you guys have always wanted me to be happy and that one person is out there somewhere that will do that."

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The Golden Bachelor premieres Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, followed by season 9 of Bachelor in Paradise at 9 p.m. ET.

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