Prior to his latest two tournaments, both from which he emerged victorious, Fognini was known mostly for his dashing good-looks, dazzling shot-making, but somewhat spotty play in which he often appeared disengaged or disinterested in a match.
I’m now convinced that this is Fognini’s personal persona. It’s not phony, it’s just Fognini. Though he may appear not to care, he truly does. He’s proven it beyond doubt in the last two weeks.
First, he won the Mercedes Cup in Stuggart, earning his first ATP title while defeating the ever-tricky Florian Mayer, red-hot number-one seed Tommy Haas, Roberto Bautista, and finally the cunning Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Throughout the tournament, Fognini played brilliantly.
It was no fluke.
As though to prove it, he again played magnificently in the German Tennis Championships leaving top-seeded Tommy Haas in his red dust en route to his second consecutive championship, this one an ATP 500 event.
Fognini’s routine-looking dismissal of Haas was particularly revealing. This guy is a highly effective disruptive force. His arsenal of shots is impressive and he seems capable of extracting the most damaging one at the most fortuitous time.
In addition to having imposingly quick feet, once in motion, Fognini is as fast as anyone on tour.
Of particular interest is the manner in which he rations out his dazzling footwork. He often walks to balls, doesn’t bend his knees yet hits cleanly and accurately. To me it appears as though he is hardly extending himself until suddenly he performs an explosion of movement that enables him to play a ball that seemed unreachable.
He is also capable of producing prodigious power seemingly at command, but uses it sparingly.
When receiving serve, between points, he casually saunters to the other side as though out for a little carefree stroll.
The guy is fascinating to watch. You never know at any given time what he will pull from his bag of tricks.
It’s that very unpredictability that makes him such a tricky, dangerous player.
Just ask any of the big name players who have fallen prey to him lately.
Undeniably, Fabio Fognini has star power.
Just ask the droves of enraptured ladies who attend his matches.
But, of greater significance, Fognini is now demonstrating how complete a player he truly is.
He’s making a move, and not a slow one, towards the upper echelons of the game. He’s now the numero uno Italian male and ranked within the top twenty players on the planet.
His impact on the game is considerably greater than one would expect from a 5′ 10,” 170 pound player.
Fognini has a big game and he’s beginning to make inroads against the big guys.
He’s only 26 years-of-age. He’s got nothing but upside.
“Fabulous Fabio,” a man on the move.
Top ten material?
I think so.