I have to say I have a rather large soft spot for this geezer, and an absolute geezer he is! If you want entertainment, then head courtside to benefit from the full Fognini experience. Alternatively, if tickets are not an option then simply crack open the beers and enjoy from the comfort of your living room. The most predictable thing with Fabio is his unpredictability. When on fire though he really is smoking, one of the games great shot shot-makers. When he’s not, he’s still great value to watch. Bantering, mood swings, moaning, offering umpires outside and getting underneath his opponents skin, are just a few of the finer things he offers aside from his tennis ability! The simple fact that he is not afraid to speak his mind is a major added bonus. This little extract from his interview after beating Nishikori in the quarters of Miami this year says it all. Legend!
Q. There was a sense from Kei when he was talking he was a little bit, not 100% physically.
FABIO FOGNINI: I don’t care.
Q. No, but…
FABIO FOGNINI: Don’t be like Italian press, please.
Possibly the complete playboy (until he married the lovely Flavia Pennetta obviously). He comes across as a real man’s man and as we all know us males have a lot of time for that. However, no problems, as he certainly gets his fair share of attention off the females as well, again several of my friends have asked ”WHOS THAT”!!!. LAD!
This is a man who on his day can contend with pretty much anyone. He has beaten Murray twice, Djokovic one (though back in 2006), Nadal three times (twice on the clay) and Stan once. He’s 0-3 against Federer and that’s probably a bad matchup for him anyway in terms of styles, but don’t be surprised to see him take the Fed-Express out at some stage in his career. He has also clocked up US hard court wins over Nishikori and Tsonga. When on his game, the angles he can create off his ground strokes and volleys are a joy to watch, not to mention that backhand down the line when on the run. He simply has great hands, which I’m sure Flavia is delighted about!! Sorry, Flavs.
His four singles titles have all come on the clay, without a doubt his preferred surface, but don’t think he can’t play on other surfaces. Being the first person to come from two sets down against Rafa Nadal at the US in 2015 was some achievement, almost unthinkable. How dare someone have the audacity to come from two sets down against the greatest/one of the greatest players of all time and without a doubt the most coveted warrior on tour. The temperament and intensity required to do that is something people didn’t think he had in his locker. He stuck two fingers up to them. Wimbledon, in fact, is the only Slam he has not made the last 16, but even on his weakest surface, he can still cause problems. He gave Djokovic a fright at the Olympics in London taking the first set before losing in three. He produces some of his best form in the Davis Cup with an 18/7 win/loss record. He also had a stellar doubles campaign partnering his friend Simone Bolelli in 2015. Winning the Oz Open, reaching the semi’s of the French and making the Tour Finals, where they were unlucky not to advance to the semi-finals.
Skip to 2.40 here for some sublime shot making.
I always say that the game needs characters and this lad is certainly one of them. I have also said before how I’d like to have a drink or two with a few players, so it goes without saying, Fabio, if you do read this and your game, drop us a line!! Ciao.
Andy Del Potro