A perfect day in Rome it was, with a packed house at Centre Court. The players were two blokes who were never really admirable components of one another. They had a gritty history but their head-to-head stats of 4-5 gave the Italian a slight lead.
Andy Murray was playing an opponent, Fabio Fognini who came onto the competitive court with many great tangibles. He has 9 career titles, his team and family there and he was on his home turf in Rome among a ton of Italian fans.
Andy Murray had his accolades and a heavy resume of 46 career titles with 3 grand slam crowns to his name. He had also won an ATP Challenger in the south of France days ago. “It was a pretty patchy match. There was some good stuff in there…My level was ok in the third, but he played really well in the third,” Murray said kind of low key.
It was a three hour 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory for the Italian, with much gritty play from both, keeping everyone in suspense. Murray gave it a good court try but there seemed to be so many tangibles going in the way for Fabio and against the Brit.
“Stadium full of Italians booing and whistling thing I’m trying to cheat Favio out of points all because Mo couldn’t read a mark properly.” Mo, being the veteran umpire Mohamed Lahyani who had a blunder with a late line call in the first set.
Fabio could have cared less and went about his game play, having stinging crosscourts to pull the Brit wide and opening up the court for victory points. He also had those nasty little drop shots that Murray couldn’t predict or even attempt to challenge and return.
The smiling Italian was given a wild card in the Rome extravaganza after recuperating from a month’s absence with an injured foot. He still proved his wares and had hit so much more winners than his British opponent. “I still like playing these type of matches,” Fabio gave a wide grin.
Well it’s knowledgeable that it would be fun for Fognini, in his home court advantage with a gaggle of fans and your team and family there to support you. Murray felt encouraged to participate at the Italian Open with his health and injury histories a bit behind him.
He has previously played three clay matches not winning any of them and played Roland Garros only one time since 2017. This match leaves him undecided as to continuing on preparation for the French Open or skip it and work on graas getting into a Wimbledon mood.
This was a test and he had explained that “…I wanted to see how my game felt, how I was playing and physically how I was doing in some longer matches…” Well it all got tested but not so excellent as he thought the result would be.
Making a decision in a few days after a team discussion has to be set in place as to what tournament he will be doing and when. It’s back to the court and chalk board for Andy Murray who just intends to participate, have fun, stay healthy and naturally to win as much as possible on the competitive courts that has been his lifestyle as a child.