The 2019 edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia concluded with the ninth crowning of the Spaniard Rafael Nadal after defeating the top seed Serbian, Novak Djokovic, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the final. With this new victory, Nadal returned to take the historic lead of most Masters 1000 titles (34) and became the first tennis player to accumulate 20 victories against a No.1.
Despite his defeat in the Round of 16, the week in Rome presented good news for the Italian Fabio Fognini. In fact, the Azzurri player is a step closer to entering the Top 10 of the ATP rankings for the first time in his career; he is now ranked No. 11 with 2,830 points. He is only 110 points behind John Isner, who he is slightly ahead with a total of 2,940 points.
As a result, Fognini is very close to reaching a goal that would represent the “icing on the cake” to his very successful start to the year; a start that resulted with him winning the first Masters 1000 title of his career in Monte Carlo.
Now, at Roland Garros, the 31-year-old is determined to continue on this path, hoping that at the end of the two weeks in Paris, he will be able to enter the exclusive list of the ten best tennis players in the world. He is also looking to improve on his performance from last year, where he fell in the Round of 16 against the Croatian Marin Cilic in five sets.
A few days shy of his 32nd birthday (May 24), Fognini is also in the running to become the oldest player to debut in the Top 10. Out of the current top 10, the oldest to enter the elite group for the first time was the South African Kevin Anderson, who did so in October 2015 as a 29-year-old. The next oldest is Kei Nishikori of Japan, who did so as a 24-year-old. So while Fognini has been ranked inside the Top 50 since September 2012 and first reached that milestone in April 2011, he is on the edge of moving into the Top 10.
Although Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall technically “cracked” the Top 10 at an older age than Fognini would, that is a function of the first ATP rankings being released on August 23, 1973. Keep in mind that both Laver and Rosewall won several Grand Slam titles before the age of 25.
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