March 23, 2023

The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals spotlights the best 21-and-under tennis players in the world. Popular 35-year-old Italian Fabio Fognini might be more than a decade removed from that classification, but he was thrilled to be at the Allianz Cloud on Tuesday with wife, WTA legend Flavia Pennetta.

“It’s nice. Milan, it’s a really beautiful city,” Fognini said. “For the tennis, especially because we are in Italy, it’s really important for us to have these kind of [Italian] guys who are on the top of the world [playing].”

There are three Italians in the field: Lorenzo Musetti, Francesco Passaro and Matteo Arnaldi. Another Italian, Jannik Sinner, won the 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Fognini watched countryman Lorenzo Musetti from courtside Tuesday.

“It’s always nice. I always say that the more we are, the better it is,” Fognini said. “There are three Italians, Lorenzo [Musetti], [Francesco] Passaro and Matteo [Arnaldi]. It’s really important for us.”

Fognini added that it is key not just to have successful Italian players, but prestigious tournaments in the country to continue encouraging juniors to pick up the sport.

“It’s quite important to have these kind of events because of course you have a chance [for] young guys to play,” Fognini said. “But at the same time [you have] young guys who are on top of the world and they play really well. It’s really, really nice and of course my opinion it’s fantastic. It’s a great event.”

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