Strength In Numbers: Fognini Leads Italian Charge At Wimbledon
Four Italians have lifted ATP Tour singles trophies this year
There will be a strong Italian presence at The All England Club this year, with nine Italian players featuring in the Wimbledon main draw. The nation has enjoyed a stellar opening six months to the season, with four Italians accounting for five ATP Tour titles this year.
With the top three Italian men achieving a career-high ATP Ranking in 2019, the rise of Italian tennis has been one of the themes of the ATP Tour in 2019. At the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April, Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini became the first player from his nation to lift an ATP Masters 1000 trophy.
But Italy's success has not been confined to clay courts. In the six ATP Tour grass-court events prior to Wimbledon, two have been won by Italian players. Matteo Berrettini opened his grass-court campaign with a win at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart and Lorenzo Sonego joined his compatriot in the winners' circle by lifting his maiden tour-level trophy at the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya.
ATPTour.com takes a closer look at the nine Italian men who will compete in the main draw...
Fabio Fognini (ATP Ranking: No. 10)
After claiming a career-best three ATP Tour crowns in 2018, Fognini stunned 11-time champion Rafael Nadal en route to the biggest title of his career at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The Sanremo native has compiled a 16-11 tour-level record this season and cracked the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings for the first time after his run to the fourth round at Roland Garros.
Fognini 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. The 12th seed, who will be aiming to advance beyond the third round at Wimbledon for the first time, faces a tough first-round clash against #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe.
Matteo Berrettini (ATP Ranking: No. 20)
As the only Italian to lift two tour-level trophies this season, Matteo Berrettini will enter the gates at SW19 with confidence. The World No. 20 currently sits at a career-high ATP Ranking, following title runs at the Hungarian Open in Budapest and the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. The 23-year-old enters Wimbledon with a 9-1 record on grass this season, backing up his success in Stuttgart with a run to the NOVENTI OPEN semi-finals. Berrettini will meet Aljaz Bedene for the third time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (1-1) in the first round.
Marco Cecchinato (ATP Ranking: No. 40)
After a breakthrough 2018 season, Marco Cecchinato lifted his third ATP Tour trophy at the Argentina Open in February. The 26-year-old, who rose to a career-high No. 16 in the ATP Rankings on 25 February, will meet Alex de Minaur for the second straight year in the first round at Wimbledon. Last year, the #NextGenATP Australian edged a tight four-set battle en route to the third round.
Andreas Seppi (ATP Ranking: No. 71)
The 35-year-old reached his first tour-level final since 2015 at the Sydney International in January (l. to De Minaur). Seppi, who advanced the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2013, will look to improve his 16-14 record at the grass-court Grand Slam championship when he meets Nicolas Jarry in the first round. The Italian will be appearing in the Wimbledon main draw for the 15th consecutive year, extending his run of consecutive major tournament entries to 57.
Lorenzo Sonego (ATP Ranking: No. 75)
What a difference a week makes. Sonego entered the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya on a six-match tour-level losing streak, searching for his first grass-court victory. But the Turin native played with confidence throughout his week in Turkey, defeating three seeded players en route to the championship match, where he saved championship point to overcome Miomir Kecmanovic and lift his first ATP Tour trophy. Sonego will meet Marcel Granollers of Spain in his opening match at The Championships.
Thomas Fabbiano (ATP Ranking: No. 102)
The 5'7" right-hander defeated second seed Laslo Djere and sixth seed Gilles Simon in back-to-back matches to reach his maiden ATP Tour semi-final at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. Fabbiano enjoyed success at Wimbledon in 2018, reaching the third round for the first time. The man who ended his run last year, Stefanos Tsitsipas, is his first-round opponent this year.
Paolo Lorenzi (ATP Ranking: No. 107)
The 37-year-old reached the quarter-finals at the New York Open in February, defeating Americans Tennys Sandgren and Ryan Harrison before a three-set loss to eventual runner-up Brayden Schnur. Lorenzi has advanced to the second round at Wimbledon in each of the past two seasons, but will need to overcome 11th seed Daniil Medvedev if he is to keep that streak alive.
Salvatore Caruso (ATP Ranking: No. 125)
After posting his first two Grand Slam main draw wins to reach the third round at Roland Garros last month, Caruso successfully navigated his way through the qualifying draw to reach the Wimbledon main draw for the first time. The 26-year-old dropped just six games in his final qualifying match against Schnur and will face 20th seed Simon in the first round.
Andrea Arnaboldi (ATP Ranking: No. 209)
The 31-year-old left-hander was taken to a final set in each of his three Wimbledon qualifying matches, but held his nerve to reach the main draw for the first time. Competing in his first Grand Slam main draw since 2015 Roland Garros and his first tour-level match of the season, Arnaboldi will meet Ivo Karlovic in the first round.