Gaio Becomes Newest Italian Success Story In Challengers
The Italian wins his first ATP Challenger Tour title in San Benedetto
Italy has enjoyed a string of ATP Challenger Tour winners in the past month, including Paolo Lorenzi and Marco Cecchinato, but a new face in Federico Gaio has added himself to the winner’s circle.
The 24 year old won his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title on home soil at last week’s $50,000 event in San Benedetto, Italy. A backed-up schedule from rain throughout the week forced Gaio to play both his semi-final and final on Sunday, but he responded strongly by winning both matches in three sets.
“The public helped me a lot! The atmosphere is always fantastic here,” said Gaio. “It’s a very nice tournament with a great atmosphere and organisation. A lot of people are watching the matches, so I’m very happy to come here every year.”
His win was even more surprising because Gaio has struggled to find consistency in 2016, falling either in qualifying or the first-round in 12 of the 15 ATP Challenger Tour events he’s played this year. But Gaio said the hard work he has been putting in on the practice court finally showed in San Benedetto.
“I’ve worked so much on my tactics,” he said. “I’ve done a lot work with my technique also, but obviously it’s very important to know where you have to play!”
Gaio is hoping to keep his win streak at home for another few days at this week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Recanati. He has a tough opening round against Evgeny Donskoy of Russia, but he admitted regardless of what happens when they take the court, he knows his game is moving in the right direction.
“I’m just very happy now. Winning last week is a good step for my career and it’s a confirmation of the work I’m doing every day with my team. So knowing I’m going the right way is the most important thing,” said Gaio. “I want to try and finish the year close to the Top 100 [in the Emirates ATP Rankings], but the main thing for me is to always keep improving day by day.”