The pandemic worries of a season that risked not leaving (the Covid cases landed in Melbourne, the two-speed quarantine between inmates soft e hard, the forced stop of mid-week for a positivity at the Grand Hyatt, another round of waltzes of tampons but the WTA tournaments will not end: prizes and points will be divided among the semifinalists), they were the prelude to a dazzling blue dawn.
The Australian Open kicks off tonight illuminated by the star of an Italy that has never been so lively, in teams or otherwise. The ATP Cup a technical test of the Davis Cup (right to entrust a young team to a young captain, Filippo Volandri) that gives us a restored Berrettini and a rejuvenated Fognini: Matteo (n. 10) overwhelms Thiem (first victory over a top-3), Monfils and Bautista Agut; Fabio (n.17) tests his new ankles with the exercise that suits him best, playing tennis under the flag: full of doubts with Novak, he is reborn with Paire in the craziest race, punishes Carreno Busta with whom he had lost seven times. However the final ended in the Italian night with the Russia of Medvedev (# 4) and Rublev (# 8), two talented dogs, it will have been a success. The 14 Italians on the draw in Melbourne in the first Grand Slam of the year certify the exponential growth of a movement that with its 35 appearances among the top-500, at the male level, behind only France (46) and the USA (44), that is to a country with a capillary organization on the territory and to a continent.
Jannik Sinner, spearhead of Little Big Italy, starting the new year as the old had ended (first title at the ATP 250 in Sofia at 19 years and three months, the youngest Italian ever), played the final of the new Atp 250 in Melbourne at dawn: an unprecedented derby against Stefano Travaglia, an arrembante from the Marches (no precedent). It was 33 years, since the match between Narducci and Claudio Panatta in Florence in 1988, which did not happen. The seventh final derby in our history, the first on hard court. Jannik confirms himself as absorbent as a sponge: he takes advantage of Adelaide’s internship at Rafa Nadal’s court (two weeks of training counted as a quick start course for great tennis), beats Vukic, Bedene, Kecmanovic and Khachanov (with whom he had surrendered at the US Open after a furious hand-to-hand combat) canceling a match point. Never lose one of the teachings of coach Piatti twice in a row from the same opponent: confirms the quality of the red baron, with his ninth consecutive success in the circuit. Like Travaglia, Jannik will also immediately return to the field in the first round of the Australian Open: his match against Canadian Denis Shapovalov, n.11 of the scoreboard (Roger Federer is missing, whose advent announced from 8 March in the warmth of Doha) and n.12 of the world, one of the most fascinating challenges between young talents that modern tennis can offer.
A difficult start between positivity and alarms, in short, which on the horizon lets us glimpse delicacies. Lucky 30,000 spectators a day who will be able to access an Australian Open dj vu (the challenge for the title is the eternal run-up between Djokovic and Nadal, who recovered from back pain but threatens to snatch Federer’s Slam title record: 20) and unprecedented (without chair judges: calls are entrusted to electronics ), who strives to look beyond the inevitable twilight of the 40-year-old Swiss master on August 8. And in the crowd for the earthly inheritance of the greatest, Italy is now on pole.
February 6, 2021 (change February 6, 2021 | 23:16)
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