NextGen Napolitano Reflects On First Challenger Title
Italian wins maiden Challenger event last week in Ortisei
There are just two weeks left in the 2016 ATP Challenger Tour season, but #NextGen star Stefano Napolitano is peaking just as the year draws to a close.
The 21-year-old Italian captured his first Challenger title last week on home soil at the $50,000 event in Ortisei. Napolitano defeated third seed and fellow Italian Alessandro Giannessi in the final and produced his best tennis throughout the week, storming through the draw without losing a set.
“Winning my first challenger last week in Ortisei gave me a boost of confidence,” said Napolitano. “It confirmed that I’m doing good work with my team that’s put us in the right direction. I feel motivated to keep working and get better every day to reach the other goals that I have.”
Having started the year at No. 406 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, he now sits at a career-high standing of No. 173. Napolitano has excelled on home throughout the year, reaching his first Challenger final this July in Todi and recording a semi-final finish in September in Biella. The Italian also advanced to the semi-finals of the Challenger held this April in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
But while he is satisfied with his year, Napolitano is already looking towards 2017 as he aims to crack the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“I’ll prepare for next season between Bordighera and Monte-Carlo with the Piatti Tennis Team and my coach, Cristian Brandi,” he said. “I know I have many things to improve in my game, so we’ll work to be ready for 2017.”
But before then, Napolitano will look to continue his win streak at this week’s $50,000 Challenger in Brescia. He will play his opening round on Wednesday against qualifier Marek Jaloviec of the Czech Republic.
“It’s my first time here, but I think this tournament is really well-organised,” said Napolitano. “I’ll try my best to grab my second title.”