Tennis Prose



Fognini: Born To Play Tennis

Fabio Fognini shocked the tennis world today with his total destruction of Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo, 64 62 but it could have been even more one-sided, as Rafa averted the second set bagel.

Fognini was devastatingly dominant to the point that there has to be concern now about if Rafa has begun his decline, even on his preferred surface. The Australian Open crushing loss to Djokovic may have not only irreparably damaged Nadal but it also might have been the turning point of a grand career that is now in the fade stage.

Nadal did not look like the King of Clay today, he looked like a punching bag. This is something we have never seen before. Yes, Nadal has been beaten twice before on clay by Fognini but not like this. 64 50 40-love?

Is this the year when the all time legends are falling? First Serena and now Nadal?

The loss today to Fognini was so brutally one-sided, we must now seriously ponder this possibility. Or could it be that Fognini has finally put all the mental and physical puzzle pieces together? Maybe Fognini had another one of his Marat Safin moments today, pure tennis genius that he exhibits once every couple of years.

Corrado Barrazzutti, the Italian great and Davis Cup captain, shared his perspective on Fognini to me in Miami:

“Oh, Fognini is a great talent. He’s born to play tennis. But sometimes he’s very upset on the court. He cannot play how he can play. Because his play is really very good. But his play is up and down. That is the problem.”

Corrado’s favorite Fognini matches:

“Well, he played two great matches against Nadal. He beat him two times I think (actually three and today is four). Maybe the best match of Fognini was in Flushing Meadows against Nadal. He was down two sets to love and he won in the fifth.”

Fognini will contest his first ATP Masters 1000 final tomorrow against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.



  • Hartt · April 21, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Fognini played well in the final and won in SS, despite picking up a hamstring injury.

    Although Fog still has the occasional “moment” on the court, he has become much better at controlling his emotions, and this is showing in his results. Last year he won 3 titles, and now this Masters. If he can continue not being so “upset on the court,” he may have more titles coming his way. He certainly has the talent to achieve that.

  • catherine · April 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Apparently Fog was thinking of retiring soon after his marriage but Flavia persuaded him to go on playing as long as he wanted to. Flavia and Federico travel with Fog sometimes and maybe this has helped him become more settled on court.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 21, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Agree Hartt, Fognini is now a top contender for Roland Garros. Let’s hope this big title creates a hunger for bigger titles.

  • catherine · April 22, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Not sure where to put this – re Andreescu – the news I’ve seen is that Bianca has ‘a small tear’ in her shoulder but ‘should be ok to play on clay’. That strikes me as strange. Even a ‘small’ tear is serious and hours of grinding on clay isn’t going to heal it surely ? I hope she’s getting the best advice.

    Bianca seems vulnerable to injury and 18 isn’t the age to be taking risks. A few months off won’t ruin her career. Quite a lot of women players have had shoulder problems and those who have had surgery are never the same afterwards.

  • Hartt · April 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm had a big article on this a few days ago. They reported that Andreescu has not picked up a racquet since she retired from her Miami match.

    “At the moment, she’s doing a lot of physical training,” Bruneau told Radio-Canada’s 15-18 program. “The focus is on the physical preparation … She’ll see the doctor next Monday, and we’ll see what happens after that.”

    I doubt that she will play before she is completely ready. Originally the diagnosis was that it wasn’t serious, and Bianca thought she would be able to play Fed Cup that took place this past weekend, and of course she did not play.



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