Life is good for Fabio Fognini. In April, the gregarious Italian won the biggest title of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco, about 25 miles from his home in Sanremo.
“I was practicing from 14 to 18 [years old] sometimes in Monte Carlo,” Fognini says. “Family and friends could come there; it was perfect.”
In June, about two weeks after his 32nd birthday, Fognini cracked the ATP Top 10 for the first time. It took him 15 years in the pros, and three years as a married man—to former Top 10 player and fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta—to reach the milestone.
“Now, of course, I am happy because I can say I’m Top 10—not only Flavia in the family,” Fognini says.
All that’s missing from Fognini’s resume, in his eyes, is his wife’s crowning achievement: a Grand Slam singles title. Flushing Meadows, the site of Pennetta’s major—and also where she announced her retirement, at 33—is something of a sore spot for Fognini.
“I play really, really bad in US Open every year,” he says, “so hopefully this year is going to be a different one.”
Fabio and Flavia have been weaving their stories as two of Italy’s best tennis players long before they became a couple. They both hail from small cities in opposite parts of the country; Pennetta from Brindisi, in the Apulia region of the south.
The northerner, Fognini, has alwa