Maldini wildcard ends with heavy defeat in Milan Challenger
Former Italy and AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini’s wildcard entry into the Milan Challenger event has ended with a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing.
The 49 year-old and his partner and coach Stefano Landonio were beaten by Tomasz Bednarek and David Pel in just forty-three minutes. Maldini’s debut is amongst the oldest of all tennis players, and through his age is one of the oldest to compete at the professional level (even eclipsing current ATP veteran Daniel Nestor.)
Despite the defeat Maldini certainly captured the romanticism of the sporting world by bridging the gap between tennis and football.
The presence of the former national team captain on the Milan clay brought an unusual amount of press and local interest to a tournament that is normally overshadowed by the grass court season in the week before Wimbledon.
Maldini earned the wildcard through his performance in local tournaments, but it does show that events further down the tennis ladder, in particular tournaments that attract less interest than some, can benefit greatly from the wider interest that a star from another sport taking part can offer.