© Sergio Errigo & Anna Miletti

Filippo Volandri is busy on the court and in the booth.

Volandri Combines Challengers With Commentating

After commentating in Monte-Carlo, the Italian is in the quarter-finals of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Turin

Filippo Volandri has plenty on his plate these days. Not only is he working hard to make another push back into the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, but the 34-year-old is getting his feet wet as a rookie in the broadcasting booth.

After reaching the quarter-finals earlier this month at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Barletta, Volandri drove 800 kilometres to play in the qualifying of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Monte-Carlo. Once his time on the court was done, Volandri spent the week calling matches for Sky TV in Italy.

“It’s a strange thing because I’m still a professional player,” admitted Volandri. “I still want to play all the tournaments, but I also have the opportunity to commentate for a few tournaments and do a few interviews with the players. I’m turning 35 this year, so I hope this is my future after my playing career.”

It’s back to tennis this week for Volandri, though. He advanced to the quarter-finals on Wednesday at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Turin, where he upset No. 4 seed Stephane Robert in the second round. Now fully recovered from an abdominal strain he suffered in February, Volandri is hoping to play more Challengers close to home as he continues to make a climb up the rankings.

“I’ve been trying to play more on clay because all of my good results have come on this surface,” he said. “And I love to play the tournaments in Italy because people come to watch me play.”

Plenty of people have watched Volandri play over his 19-year career, which has seen him reach a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 25 back in July 2007. There have been several highlights over the years that include winning two ATP World Tour titles and 12 ATP Challenger Tour titles.

But for Volandri, his proudest moment was his upset victory in 2007 over Roger Federer at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome. Having needed a wild card just to enter the main draw, Volandri played one of the best matches of his career to secure the straight-sets win. Afterwards, he did a victory lap around Centre Court and high-fived spectators in the audience.

“He was No. 1 in the world at the time and I was playing at home, so it was amazing for me,” said Volandri. “That was probably the best week of my career.”

Volandri will head back to Rome next month as both a player and commentator. He wants to get his ranking high enough to compete in the main draw of the Grand Slams again, but said he’s also happy competing on the ATP Challenger Tour for now and having the chance to still do something he loves.

“Tennis is now a passion for me instead of work. I don’t have to keep doing this. I do it because I love to play,” said Volandri. “There’s no pressure for me because I’ve had a good career, so I just want to go on court and enjoy it.”

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