Outlook Optimistic For Internazionali BNL d’Italia

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Angelo Biaghi, president of the Italian tennis federation (FIT), said in an interview with Super Tennis on Friday that there is a good chance that the Internazionali BNL d’Italia could be played in September, “between the middle and the end of September.” 

“We are in very fruitful conversations, we are fortunate to have a president and a CEO at ATP who are such valid compatriots,” said Biaghi. “Andrea Gaudenzi has a direct and frequent relationship with us, so we will know everything soon. At the moment it is all confidential, but I can say that, except for catastrophe, we are going to reorganize the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in September, between the middle and the end of September.”

Biaghi added, “The Romans tell me that September is an extraordinary period, the best time to play tennis, even better than in mid-May, which would have been the natural date without the appearance of the coronavirus. Soon I will have another meeting with the Minister of Sports to study how we can get our fans to attend the event as well.”

Federer No. 1 on Forbes list of Top 100 highest-paid athletes

Roger Federer sits at the top of the Forbes Top 100 highest-paid athletes with $106.3 million in pre-tax earnings. It is the first time a tennis player has been No. 1. Federer beat out international football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million) Lionel Messi ($104 million) and Neymar ($95.5 million), and NBA icon LeBron James ($88.2 million). About $100 million of Federer’s earnings came from endorsements and appearance fees paid to him by 13 partners, including Nike, Credit Suisse, Barilla, Rolex, Uniqlo and Lindt.

Federer’s sponsors typically pay between $3 million and $30 annually to align themselves with the Swiss maestro.

According to Forbes, Federer “has the best endorsement portfolios in sports.” He is just the ninth athlete to land in the top position on the Forbes list since 1990, the first year the financial publication started to track athletes’ earnings. He is the first tennis athlete in the 30-year history of the Forbes list to reach No. 1.

Three other ATP players made the Forbes list and all were ranked inside the Top 40. They include: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, in 23rd place with $44 million in total earnings, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in 27th place with $40 million; and Kei Nishikori in 40th place with $32.1 million. Also, making the Top 100 were: Naomi Osaka (No. 29 with $37.4 million) and Serena Williams (No. 33 with $36 million).

Fognini opts for surgery on both ankles

On Saturday, World No. 11 Fabio Fognini of Italy posted a message on his social media channels: Wish me luck 😊💪 Then, he underwent surgery on both of his ankles.

Fognini wrote to his more than 111,000 followers in both Italian and English:

Hi everyone,

I have been having a problem with my left ankle for about three and a half years now. It’s an issue Ive learnt to cope with. Then, my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well. I had hoped the various issues would go away during my two months break from the game because of the lockdown but, when I resumed training, they were still there.

After medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it’s the right thing to do while the Tour is on this enforced break. I will undergo surgery in Italy today. I can’t wait to be back playing again! I know you will support me. A big hug to all of you!


Juan Martín del Potro parts ways with coach

Mary Pierce remembers …

On Thursday, 2000 Roland Garros singles champion Mary Pierce sat for an interview with Blair Henley on behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Behind The Racquet – Bruno Soares

Brazil’s Bruno Soares is a doubles specialist, who achieved a career-high ranking of No. 2 in 2016, a year in which he and Jamie Murray partnered to win both the Australian Open and US Open and also an Australian Open mixed doubles title with Elena Vesnina. Soares first learned to play tennis at age 5 while his family lived in Iraq, where his father was a civil engineer. He idolized Pete Sampras. Soares wrote in a first-person essay for the Instagram series Behind The Racquet last November how moving about Iraq as well as Brazil after he returned – and the difficulty in making lasting friendships – helped prepare him for a nomadic life as a pro tennis player.

Now, at age 38 and ranked 25th in the world, Soares’s 2020 season, in which he has teamed with Mate Pavic of Croatia, has been filled with ups and downs. His win-loss record is 4-5 in this abbreviated season. He hasn’t played since Dubai in February. Since turning pro in 2001, Soares has won 32 doubles titles and pocketed nearly $6 million.

“For about five years now I’ve been working on my plan after tennis. I do invest in a few companies and I do some work, which has got nothing to do with tennis,” wrote Soares. “I’m an investor in an Açaí company called OakBerry, which I helped get into the US Open. I’m also partnered on an investment bank here back in Brazil. I’ve always wanted to be involved in tennis. There is this one academy and two country clubs here in Brazil that I am a part of, partnering with Guga (Gustavo Kuerten). We have about 400 kids right now, so I definitely plan to stay in Brazil.

“I love that my kids have the chance to watch me play tennis and compete. It is tough at times to balance my job with spending time with kids, My son is starting to understand winning and losing, and now he has many questions about everything. It is not easy to travel with them, with all the expenses, but I have enjoyed any time they can come. I just hope they are proud of me.”

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“For the first six years of my life I grew up in Iraq. My dad was a civil engineer and worked with a large Brazilian company back in the ‘80s. My parents moved to Iraq, while my mother was pregnant, to build a highway. My father moved first, alone for the first seven months, before my mom was ready to leave with me. I was about two months old at the time. It was a very interesting experience back then. Saddam Hussein was still in command, but it was quite a normal place, besides the cultural differences from Brazil. Few years after we moved the Gulf War began and we were forced to move back to Brazil. After leaving we lived in a few places in Brazil. We spent some time in Belo, some time in Fortaleza, four years in Rio de Janeiro and then ended back in Belo. This moving really didn’t stop until I was 17. I actually began playing tennis when I was in Iraq, starting around five years old while my family and I were living in camps. These camps helped us live along the highway my father was building so he didn’t have to travel back and forth. The main camp was this really small place which had a school of Brazilians, in the middle of nowhere. I started going to this country club early on. I began playing with a ball and racquet while watching my parents play for the first time. It was around this time when we moved to Baghdad and I asked my dad to put me in a tennis lesson. I did that for one year until we were forced to move back to Brazil. where I continued my practice. Since I was six years old I didn’t have many friends, so the move was easy. After that, with the moves around Brazil, it felt like I could never settle, only in a place for two/three years at time. We had no phone, no internet, nothing. Basically, once you move from a place, you pretty much don’t have contact with your friends. That was tough because I always ended up getting there, enjoying the place, making friends and then had to move again. I guess, looking at it now, it was good practice for me, making what I do now so much easier. It may have helped me get to where I am today…” @brunosoares82 Read full story at behindtheracquet.com (link in bio)

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What they’re saying

• Hall of Fame great Billie Jean King: “The anger and frustration being expressed in the George Floyd protests all over the U.S are palpable. Every single person must commit to the hard work of addressing racism. This work begins by listening to the life experiences of people whose lives look nothing like your own.”

• Hall of Fame great Chris Evert on teen sensation Coco Gauff: “I believe we have a future leader, role model, and activist in @CocoGauff. At the young age of 16, she is showing up in the fight against racial prejudice. She could champion human rights and still be a champion in tennis. I believe she can be an inspiration and do it all. ❤️

Coco Gauff (Replying to Chris Evert): “Thank you. I will always fight for what is right.”

What they’re writing

Joel Drucker, Tennis.com writer and historian, from “Clay Cult Players, Fabrice Santoro: A Magician With Tantalizing Tricks”:

“The making of a playing style is an uncertain process—arguably the most vivid example of how learning to play tennis is much more art than science. There might be a conveniently located instructor who teaches players to hit the ball a certain way. Or a parent armed with ideas acquired from websites, magazines, books and random conversations. Or there might be several local greats, armed with a certain playing style that, create a template of sorts, as was the case for the Aussie net-rushers of the 1950s and 1960s, the steady post-Borg Swedes of the 1980s, or the contemporary Spanish grinders.

“And then there are the independent thinkers. Santoro hit with two hands off both sides, continuing to do so even after an instructor told him that was a bad idea. Instead, Santoro had his own set of ideas. He was a world class version of an archetype seen at many a club; the cagey hack, often armed with the largest-sized racquet available, as if casting a fishnet every time he hit the ball. There were cuts, drops, loops, sneak attacks, the occasional flat drive thrown in just to remind you he could crack one too.” 

What they’re sharing on social media

Sadly, no Roland Garros / Guga with all the heart ❤️

Grigor Dimitrov / Bulgarian Pride

Garbiñe Muguruza / Making Spanish omelets