Italian National Championships To Be Revived Amid Coronavirus Lock-In - UBITENNIS
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Italian National Championships To Be Revived Amid Coronavirus Lock-In

The event will be the first of a local 5-tournament tour due to take place in Italy during the summer. Fabio Fognini’s presence still doubtful. Governmental approval to allow sports events is still pending

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Fabio Fognini - Italy - South Korea, 2020 Davis Cup (photo Felice Calabrò)

The impossibility to travel internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted several initiatives to organize small events with local players to offer some of the pros a chance to play matches waiting for the ATP and WTA Tours to resume. In Italy, MEF Tennis Event, a company that has been organizing national and international tournaments for the past 10 years, has decided to launch the MEF Tennis Tour, a summer circuit that will see four events take place in Italy starting on 15 June.

 

The first event of the MEF Tennis Tour will be the 2020 edition of the “Campionati Italiani Assoluti”, an old and prestigious national event that used to crown the “National Champion” in Italy that was discontinued in 2004. The list of winners for the event sees 2-time Major champion Nicola Pietrangeli, and former Top-10 Corrado Barazzutti and former Davis Cup captain Fausto Gardini all appear seven times each, with Lucia Valerio and Lea Pericoli dominate the competition among the ladies with 10 titles apiece. Furthermore, in 1970 a memorable five-set final between 20-year-old up-and-comer Adriano Panatta and the 36-year-old veteran Pietrangeli is widely considered to have been the “changing of the guard” between two generations of Italian players.

“While we wait for a new confirmed date for the 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia next September – explains the President of the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) Angelo Binaghi – we are thrilled to see through the launch of a new circuit of events with a new edition of the ‘Campionati Assoluti’. These events will provide our players the opportunity to compete at the top level in maximum safety, and it will give our fans the chance to enjoy exciting live matches on television”.

The event will take place in Todi, a small village near Perugia in Central Italy, on the clay courts of the local Tennis Club. The men’s tournament will have a 32-player draw while the women’s event will see 16 players compete for the national title. Italian free-to-air television SuperTennis will broadcast all matches live in Italy, and the feed will also be available in streaming through the tournament’s website and social media accounts. ATP n. 11 Fabio Fognini was announced to be among the participants by FIT, but the player later issued a note saying his participation is still not confirmed. There will be however most Italian top ATP and WTA players, including some of the top juniors in the country who will be able to avail of some of the four wild-cards made available to FIT Technical Directors Filippo Volandri and Tathiana Garbin.

At the moment sporting events, even behind closed doors, are still prohibited in Italy as a measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease, but the Government is due to review its policy within the next few weeks. The event is therefore pending governmental approval, but it will be ready to go as soon as a decision on the matter is made by the Executive.

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Roger Federer announces the return of “RF” branded caps

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Swiss legend Roger Federer announced the return of the “RF” branded caps. Tennis fans will be able to purchase the Uniqlo product.

 

The RF logo has been missing since Federer switched from Nike to Uniqlo at Wimbledon 2018. It has now returned as new Uniqlo caps feature the iconic “RF” logo.

Roger Federer: “After a long and extensive fine-tuning, UNIQLO and I are extremely extremely to announce the return of the RF hat in eight fresh colours starrting from 8th December 2020. This hat has meant so much to me and to my fans over the years. It has given us a way to visibly connect, and I have appreciated the opportunity to thrive off this supportive energy”. 

Federer posted a video on his Instagram account announcing the relaunch of the “RF” logo.  

There are eight different colours of the “RF” caps. The gap has the iconic “RF” has the iconic “RF” logo in front and the “Go Roger” logo at the back. 

Federer will make his eagerly awaited come-back at the 2021 Australian Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has won six titles at Melbourne Park in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017 and 2018. Three years ago Fedeerer won an epic five-set final against Rafael Nadal after being sidelined by a knee injury. The Basel native repeated the feat winning the 2018 final against Marin Cilic in another five-set battle. 

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French Legend Leconte Speaks Out On Upcoming Return Of Roger Federer

The Grand Slam finalist gives his view on Federer’s chances for 2021.

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A former star of French tennis says he is hopeful but wary that Roger Federer will be able to return to the pinnacle of sport next year.

 

Henri Leconte, who is a former French Open finalist that achieved a ranking high of No.5, admits that the Swiss Maestro may find it tough on the Tour given the rise of what he describes as the ‘younger generation.’ This season Dominic Thiem won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open at the age of 27. More recently Daniil Medvedev defeated both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to the ATP Finals title.

We want to believe it. We all want to believe it! It’s been a long and difficult year. Will the motivation still be there? Will this break, the fact of having been able to enjoy his family, have changed something or will he still have that renewed motivation that has always fascinated us?” Leconte told TennisActu.

Federer hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss at the Australian Open in January. Since then, he has been sidelined from action due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures. The second took place after the first failed to produce the desired results.

Despite the setbacks, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer is eyeing a return to the Tour in 2021. He is currently the oldest player in the world’s top 100 and one of two to be aged 39. The other is Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

No one can say it. We all wish him, we would like him to stop on a Grand Slam title but the train (momentum) is gone with this younger generation which has put in an extra speed,” said Leconte.
“I would like to believe it. Roger has done so many things, that’s why he makes us dream, we would like to see him at the top. It will be very, very hard. ..”

It is not the first time Federer has taken a lengthy break due to injury. He missed six months of the 2017 season due to another knee issue before returning to action the following year when he won the Australian Open.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Federer will head into the new season being able to use his iconic ‘RF’ logo. He hasn’t been able to use the logo for the past two years after switching from Nike, which held the rights, to UNIQLO. However, he has managed to regain control of ownership which means he will be allowed to use it on his apparel once again.

“The RF cap is back,” Federer said in a video message to fans on Twitter.
“After a long wait and extensive fine-tuning, UNIQLO and I are extremely excited to announce the return of the RF hat in 8 fresh colours starting December 8th, 2020,” he also wrote.
“This hat has meant so much to me and to my fans over the years.
“It has given us a way to visibly connect, and I have appreciated the opportunity to thrive off this supportive energy.”

As it currently stands Federer’s first tournament is set to be the Australian Open. The tournament had been scheduled to start on January 18th but it is believed that the date has been delayed until February 8th due to travel and quarantine arrangements.

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Matteo Berrettini is confident for the future of Italian tennis ahead of the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini looked back to his 2020 season in an interview to the Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. 

 

Berrettini reached the Australian Open second round losing to Tennys Sandgren in five sets. The Rome native player lost to Andrey Rublev in the fourth round at the US Open. He was one the five Italian players to advance to Roland Garros third round, most to reach a Grand Slam third round in Open Era since 1968.

At Masters 1000 level Berrettini reached the third round in Cincinnati and the quarter final in Rome before losing to Norwegian player Casper Ruud. 

“I struggled during 2020. I did not start my season at best. I was often injured. It was a race against time to get back into shape. When I was ready, the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic”, said Berrettini. 

The Italian player ended the year in the top-10 but he had a season with ups and downs. 

“I struggled to settle on my ranking. What I achieved in 2019 was deserved, but it was unexpected. I need to play many matches to get the rhythm”. 

The defeat against Casper Ruud was the biggest disappointment of this year. 

“The match against Ruud was decided by just two points. If I had reached the semifinal, it could have been another season. This negative result was a learning experience. My team invited me to be relaxed and patient. I am confident for the future”. 

The 2020 season was highlighted by the great results achieved by Jannik Sinner, who reached the quarter final at Roland Garros and won his first title in Sofia. 

“Sinner is enjoying an impressive season. He is mature. At his age I did not think about winning a single match. He is playing with a clear plan for the future. Every point he plays is an investment. This is the secret to reach top level”. 

The countdown to the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin has begun. Yesterday marked marked the start of the ticket sale. 

“It’s a great period for Italian tennis. I really hope to qualify for the ATP Finals. It would be a good result, if an Italian player qualifies for the Turin ATP Finals. Besides me, Jannik Sinner and Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego i salso playing very well. There are many other players, who can achieve good results and give a great joy to Italian fans. There are many young players, who are hungry. Fans can be happy and confident for the future”, said Berrettini. 

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