VENI, VIDI, VICI!
Fabio Fognini (ATP18) won his first ATP 1000 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters this Sunday, defeating Serbian Dusan Lajovic (ATP48) in two straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in over one hour and a half, the loud cheers of the Italian fans, packing the bleachers.
He received the coveted trophy from the hands of Prince Albert II, who was accompanied by Elisabeth-Anne de Massy, President of the Tournament Committee and President of the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
Being the first of three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments played on clay, bets are all off in Monte-Carlo, that is both a tough physical and psychological test for every player no matter their ranking. Fognini deserves all the admiration for this epic victory.
Fogna, who is from nearby San Remo, is the first Italian player to win a trophy in 51 years, breaking the record of 85-year-old Nicola “Nicky” Pietrangeli, who followed the match from the royal box and joined the champion on the court during the trophy ceremony.
The 31 years old passionate Fognini, who despite a painful right ankle and thigh, and windy conditions, played flawless tennis to win the title and experience the most memorable victory of his career. After he played the last ball, he immediately ran to his box where he was tenderly embraced by his wife former tennis player Flavia Pennetta, and be congratulated by members of his team.
“I’m really happy. Nothing to say, “ Fognini said. “I have to keep calm, maybe take a shower, relax, and think about this because it’s something incredible.”
Fognini received €958,055 in prize money, and gained 1000 ATP points, rising to a career-high ATP12 when the latest ATP Rankings are published on Monday. Runner up Dusan Lajovic earned 600 points and €484,950.
Fognini’s unpredicted victory in Monte-Carlo came after a difficult start to the season. The Italian entered the tournament with one win in his eight most recent tour-level encounters and had lost each of his four matches on clay this year.
The Italian’s pathway to the Final showdown was loaded with uncertainty mixed with moments of glory. Starting with comeback victories against Rublev and Coric, Fognini also defeated two Top 5 opponents in straight sets this week. The Italian ousted World No. 3 Alexander Zverev to reach the quarterfinals and shocked 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the last four.
Croatian pair win doubles’ trophy
The Croatian duo Nikola Mektic & Franko Skugor saved one championship point to win the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, beating the Dutch pair Robin Haase & Wesley Koolhof 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 11-9 in a dramatic final.
The seventh seeds, making their first appearance as a team since the 2017 Swiss Indoors, claimed their first title together. Mektic and Skugor earned three straight points from 8/9 down in the Match Tie-break to lift the trophy after two hours and three minutes.
Mektic has now won three ATP Masters 1000 titles in the past year (Madrid and Miami). The 30-year-old owns seven trophies from 12 tour-level doubles finals. Skugor has now won tour-level doubles trophies in two straight weeks. The five-time tour-level titlist triumphed in Marrakech last week.
An exceptional week
In his traditional speech to review the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, Zeljko Fanulovic, tournament director, recalled the important events that took place during the week: “Let’s talk about the highlights of this week off the courts. And in particular the exceptional welcome of eleven players, members of the top 10 and Monaco residents at the Prince’s Palace. H.S.H. Prince Albert II, passionate about sport and tennis, wanted to open the doors of his palace to these champions for an exceptional private visit. There was also the Exhibition Match for the benefit of the Monaco Red Cross, proof of the players’ attachment to the Principality.”
Mark your calendars for the 114thedition of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, April 11-19, 2020.
“The next point – that’s all you must think about.” Rod Laver