Another post from a while back which for some reason I placed in a folder as a draft copy. I have written over 800 posts on this site including 76 from my book. I suppose I am entitled to make a few mistakes here and there with my file organisation......
The Italian Job was the title of a movie made in the year I was put on this earth, 1969, one of the all time great movies. In fact the lead actor Michael Caine put in a one liner that was once voted the greatest of all time " You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off "!
The movie was about a group of gangsters plotting to steal 4 million dollars worth of gold in Italy and escape with it to Switzerland, absolute classic.
So what's it got to do with tennis ? Nothing, but it reminds me of two Italian 'gangster' tennis professionals from Italy, Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi, interesting characters. I wrote a chapter recently on Fabio.I swear the man who could double as a clothes fashion model had a night out with a 'fan' at the clay court event in Barcelona in April where he forfeited his match after trailing 0-6, 0-4. How else would you explain that effort ?
In Brazil in February he lost the second set 0-6 to Bedene, a Slovakian ranked 103 before winning the third 6-1. In Monte Carlo in April he lost the third and deciding set in the Round of 16 to Tsonga 0-6 but at the French Open against Monfils he won the fourth 6-0 before losing the last 2-6. In Germany in July he lost to Krajinovic of Serbia 4-6, 0-6 . What happened there Fabio ? The Serb was ranked 149.
In Cincinatti in August he lost a Quarter Final to Raonic 0-6, 1-6 but pocketed $80,000 before moving on to the US Open in New York. Fabio offered very little resistance again and got smashed by a guy ranked 89, Mannarino of France 3-6, 4-6, 1-6. He did however 'earn' $60,000 for a second round showing. Not a bad few weeks for Fabio as far as prize money was concerned but it did nothing for his reputation as a match or set 'tanker'.
Enough about Fabio, let's move on to his fellow countryman Andreas Seppi. In Davis Cup against Argentina in January this year he played Berlocq, a man ranked 13 places behind him. After winning the first 6-4 he then put all his toys back in the toy box and went home, 0-6, 2-6, 1-6. Five weeks later in Indian Wells he lost to Stan 'The Man' Wawrinka 0-6, 2-6 then met Berlocq again in Romania in April. The Argentinian smashed the Italian to love in the first before Seppi staged a fight back winning the second 6-2 but then lost the third in a breaker.
In July in Hamburg Seppi beat Monaco by the strangest score of 1-6, 6-0, 7-6 which asked two questions, how does a score like this happen and what is it with the Italians and their bagels ??
In the Moselle Open in France just last week Seppi took on Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands in the first round, a match that Seppi would have fancied his chances. Seppi is currently ranked 26 places higher than the Dutchman however it seems as though Andreas may just have found a 'fan' the night before. For reasons only known to the Italian he found himself down 0-6, 1-4 before doing a 'Fabio' and shaking hands with an 'injury' stated withdrawal.
So the questions need to be asked of these two 'gangsters'. Do you guys meet with 'foul play' the night before the matches you withdraw from when you are receiving an absolute pounding from your opposition ? And why so many bagels in your playing career ?
Perhaps a movie can be made one day about these two Professionals from Italy who are fantastic tennis players but can make the headlines for some 'indifferent' score lines in various matches. I would pay good money to go see 'The Italian Job Part 2'..........