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RTL Today – Blonde doesn’t flop while Fognini learns to love Wimbledon

RTL Today – Blonde doesn’t flop while Fognini learns to love Wimbledon

Five years after wishing a “bomb would explode” at the All England Club, fiery Fabio Fognini described the tournament as “the best Grand Slam” on Wednesday after knocking out eighth-seeded Casper Ruud.

At 37 and sporting a striking blond hairstyle that some online critics have likened to a cross between punk rocker Billy Idol and Bart Simpson, the Italian won 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3.

He did it the hard way: he needed several match points to beat Ruud, three-time runner-up at a Grand Slam.

“That’s why I love this sport and hate it at the same time,” said Fognini, who is participating in the tournament for the 14th time but has not yet reached the second week.

“But I was really calm. Even when I lost this crazy third set, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m up two sets. I’ll start again.’

“He’s in the top 10 and I’m 37 (years old), so this is a big gift for me.”

Fognini was once ranked number nine in the world, but is now ranked 94.

He has won just six major tournaments on the ATP Tour this year and has even dropped to the second tier of the Challenger circuit in an attempt to regain form.

“I still like to play, even though the ranking is going down and I’m getting older,” Fognini said before trying to fix the tournament’s problems.

In 2019, after playing and losing on Court 14, he was heard saying: “Is it fair to play here? Bloody English, really. Bloody English, really. I wish a bomb would go off at this club. There should be a bomb going off here.”

He later apologized for his comments.

On Wednesday, Fognini admitted he had changed his mind, while the crowd at Court Two was full but cold.

“It’s the best Grand Slam in the world, compared to the other three,” he told his fans.

“I love the competition. I want to enjoy it as much as possible. Maybe this 14th time will be lucky for me.”