When nine Italian male players featured in the main draw of Wimbledon this year, the world took notice of ‘Forza Italia.’ It happened due to the attention of Italian authorities on the youth system for years.
In the first six months, they enjoyed stellar success. Four of them lifted five ATP tour trophies. Fabio Fognini touched the highest level. He lifted Rolex ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo. En route, he defeated 11 times champ, Rafael Nadal. But their success was not restricted to the clay surface. On grass, Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Sonego tested victories. Combo raised silverwares of Mercedes Cup (Stuttgart) and Turkish Airlines Open (Antalya).
Fabio Fognini was the first player to breach the top 10. He became the first man since Adriano Panatta and Corrado Barazzutti to be part of the top 10. His run to 4th round in Roland Garros made him worthy of this feat. Matteo Berrettini is a fast server. He mercilessly hit the ball on the forehand. People call him ‘Fast Ferrari.’ He got his first success in Gstaad in 2018. This year, he raised two cups at Budapest and Stuttgart. His stunning run in the US open hit the headlines around the world. It was Nadal who stopped his march in the Semifinal.
But the rise of Italian Tennis is not limited to these talents only. Marco Cecchinato is another reason for it. The 27 year old comes from Palermo. He shot to fame last year, where he participated as an unseeded player in French Open. He got the better of 10th seed Carreno Busta in the third round. He shocked David Goffin in the 4th round. In the Quarterfinal, he was up against Novak Djokovic. He outclassed the Serb legend in 4 sets and continued his dream run. In SF, Nadal halted his progress. This year, he lifted his third ATP trophy at the Argentina Open. The 26-year-old touched the peak of his career this year. In February, he was the 16th best player in the world.
Lorenzo Sonego is only 24 years of age and 52nd ranked player in ATP rankings. The boy from Turin is showing promising signs. At Antalya, he overpowered three seeded players and saved one championship point to prove his mettle. The still useful Andres Seppi is the eldest among this talented group of young players. Jannik Sinner is only 18. He lifted the Next Generation ATP trophy in front of his home crowd in Milan this year. At a tender age, Sinner is world number 78, and all set to climb high. Stefano Travaglia and Salvatore Caruso are the other two who are in the top 100. They are at 84th and 96th position. Paolo Lorenzi is just outside. 37 year old is at 115th spot.
The previous year when Ferro Italica held, there were three Italians in the top 100. Now the number has swelled to eight. At this moment, only France (12) and Spain (10) are ahead of Italy in the top 100 representations.
The Italian rise is set to go even higher with the Nitto ATP Finals set to move to Turin from 2021. 2019 proved a select year for Italian Tennis. Trophies, players in the top 100, and NextGen champ raised positive vibes in the nation. Two Italian boys are in the top ten of under-18 players in the ATP Rankings. They are Lorenzo Musetti (2nd) and Flavio Cobolli (8th), adding more excitement. The last Grand slam champion for Italy was Adriano Panatta. He won the French Open in 1976. These guys can end the wait.
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