Fabio Fognini underwent arthroscopic surgery on both his ankles less than two weeks ago. But for the Italian, this is still one of the best moments of his life. In the past three years Fognini and his wife, former WTA professional Flavia Pennetta, have welcomed their first two children.
“It’s really nice. It’s the most beautiful thing that could happen in my life at the moment,” Fognini told ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot. “It is the best dream probably for people when they get married.”
Their son, Federico, was born in May 2017, and their daughter, Farah, was born last December. It’s difficult to be away from home when he is competing on the ATP Tour, but Fognini has loved every minute of fatherhood.
“I think I’m unlucky and lucky, because of course when I’m home I enjoy [being with my family] as best I can. But when I’m away, I’m lucky, because Flavia told me that the first one started to be unstoppable, running everywhere,” Fognini said, cracking a laugh. “[He] started talking, he started to be jealous with the second one. It’s a tough [situation].
“I’m lucky because my wife was playing tennis, so she understands every situation that can happen during the tournament when you travel. We are happy. We are really happy.”
The Italian’s off-court happiness has gone hand in hand with on-court success. Last season was the best of Fognini’s career. At the 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, he became the first Italian ATP Masters 1000 champion.
“I dreamed for it for sure,” Fognini said. “Since when I was 14, I’ve lived really [close to] Monte Carlo. It’s just 40 minutes away. I will keep this moment [in my memory] for sure.”
In June 2019, then 32, Fognini became the oldest player to crack the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time since 1973. He also became just the third Italian to break into the Top 10 (Matteo Berrettini joined him later in the season).
“I’m in the best period of my career. I won many matches and I try to keep pushing myself every week as much as I can,” Fognini said. “I stay competitive with the best guys on Tour, so until I don’t have energy to practise and to wake up with a different goal, I’m going to push myself.”
Fogna is back 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/YkfJJrOGQE
— Fabio Fognini (@fabiofogna) June 6, 2020
For now, Fognini, who has already revealed on social media signs of progress since his ankle surgeries, is focussing his time on family, much to Pennetta’s delight.
“For the moment, we cannot do anything. We just practise at home, play with the baby, clean the house,” Pennetta said of what they’ve been doing during the pandemic, before cracking a smile. “He’s really good. He helps me a lot. I’m really happy about that.”