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Fantastic Fabio! Fognini Makes History By Cracking The Top 10

Fognini is oldest first-time member of the Top 10 since 1973

Italian Fabio Fognini has made history.

On Monday, the 32-year-old World No. 10 became the oldest player to break into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time since 38-year-old Ken Rosewall and 35-year-old Rod Laver on 23 August 1973, when the ATP Rankings were first established. Fognini is just the third Italian man to crack the elite group, joining Adriano Panatta and Corrado Barazzutti.

"To reach the Top 10 is like the fulfilment of a dream. I see myself as a kid on a tennis court with a racquet bigger than me and I think, 'This kid has gone a long way'," Fognini told ATPTour.com. "Right now I am happy and I want to thank my family, my wife, my son and all the people who have always been close to me."

Italian Men To Reach The Top 10

 Player  Career-High
 Adriano Panatta  No. 4
 Corrado Barazzutti  No. 7
 Fabio Fognini  No. 10

Of the current Top 10, Kevin Anderson was the oldest to join the group for the first time, doing so at 29. The other nine stars were 24 or younger when they accomplished the feat.

"This is another piece of the puzzle which will push me to continue to give my all to the sport I love," Fognini said. 

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Joining Fognini as a first-time entrant into the Top 10 Monday is Russian Karen Khachanov, who ascended to a career-high World No. 9, becoming the first man from his country to be ranked inside the Top 10 since Mikhail Youzhny the week of 17 January 2011. Khachanov and Fognini are the 164th and 165th players to earn a spot in the sport’s upper echelon.

Fognini had to sweat a bit more during Roland Garros than Khachanov, though. When the Italian lost in the fourth round in Paris, there was a chance that multiple players could pass him. But Khachanov defeated Juan Martin del Potro, guaranteeing Fognini would move ahead of the Tower of Tandil. If Del Potro had won that match, he would have passed the 32-year-old.

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Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka would have returned to the Top 10 if he reached the final, but the Swiss lost in the quarter-finals against countryman Roger Federer.

Fognini has been a Top 100 stalwart for more than a decade. In fact, he has remained inside the Top 50 since September 2012. In March 2013, he reached what was then a career-high of No. 13. But this year was the first time he made a serious run at the Top 10. Fognini won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on 21 April to position himself for this breakthrough.