It could be a memorable Sunday for Italy’s sports-loving fans. The Azzurri want to win their second European football championship in London. Matteo Berrettini is 21 kilometers away and will be the first Italian player to ever compete in the most important tennis tournament in the world.
Already, ‘Wembledon” has placed the Italian Corrierre dello Sport front page in Saturday’s edition. This refers to Wimbledon and Wembley. It must happen for the Italians in those two iconic sporting locations.
Berrettini smiled with joy, saying “It’ll be a special Sunday” “Nobody expected that, and I certainly did not.”
After Matteo Berrettini’s last place at Wimbledon, here are some selections from the Italian sports papers.
Italy has been a familiar country with major football finals at every level. But now, it appears that the sport-mad nation is also looking forward for some amazing years playing top tennis. Ten Italian tennis players have made it to the top 100 for the first year since 1973’s introduction of the world ranking. That is an extraordinary feat.
It speaks volumes about the country’s rise, which had in the preceding decade already spoilt the women with performances by Flavia Penetta (2015) US Open title, Flavia Schiavone (2010) Roland Garros title), Flavia Schiavone (2015) US Open title), Roberta Vinci final 2015 and Sara Errani (2012).
The golden generation is in the making
It seems that there is a new generation of Italian men. Berrettini (25 year old) has been the standard bearer for the couple’s top ten players for more than a decade and a half.
There are still many good players out there. The 19-year-old super talents Jannik Siner (23rd place in the world), Lorenzo Musetti (62) and the 26-year-old late bloomer Lorenzo Sonego (30th) both persistently knock on the door.
Fabio Fognini (31st), a 34-year old enfant terrible, is also doing well. He was the captain of a group of sub-toppers, including Andreas Seppi (and Paolo Lorenzi), that paved the way for the next generation.
“Italians are known for their unique qualities, which make them so successful. Martin Simek, a tennis coach, says that they are not robots. They have a playful personality and a great sense for honour.
He is an ex-trainer of Michiel Schapers and a passionate lover of Italian tennis. For example, he spends many months in the country of southern Europe every year.
Italy will be decisive for the next few years
“Italian tennis is going to be decisive over the next five to ten year. It is also because Italians share their knowledge and are a close-knit group. They are good at helping each other to be stronger. This is also true for the footballers who are in the final.
Berrettini has incredible tennis skills but I think Berrettini still is a bit of an underdog. Sinner, Musetti and others have more talent but are still young and must continue to learn. They can do it. It will be fascinating.”
Simek believes that Dutch tennis players should follow the example of the Italians. “Italians are Italians, first and foremost, after tennis players. You can say they are passionate about each other and seek out one another. The Dutch are much more like this.
“Such an Fognini. Although he can be quite annoying on the track, he is also a passionate man. It also has to do the culture. Also, you can compare Spanish people with Italians. They are also very open to each other. The Dutch are much more independent in this regard.
Simek does NOT expect it will be an Italian party at Wimbledon. “I would love it for my Italian friends but Novak Djokovic still deserves a place in the top 10. Berrettini won’t win, I think.”
The former tennis coach does not think of an Italian double in this regard. The final may have also had a Swiss twist. “I like Roger Federer and I have a lot respect for Djokovic. It’s amazing how this man can play tennis, and what a career he has.