Potito Starace opens the book of memories

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Potito Starace opens the book of memories

Potito Starace has double-tied his name to the San Marino Tennis Internationals, where he has been an absolute protagonist for a decade. In fact, the player born on July 14, 1981 in Cervinara, in the province of Avellino, signed the 2004, 2007 and 2011 editions of the tournament, not forgetting the finals he reached in 2008 and 2009, surrendering in three sets in two tricolor derbies, respectively with Filippo Volandri and Andreas Seppi (a final that has remained in history for the extraordinary attendance, with a sold-out crowd on the Central and spectators even on top of the Montecchio hill just to watch the match).

“I retain wonderful memories of my participation in the San Marino tournament,” the former Italian davisman emphasized, “also because I always managed to express myself at my best from a tennis point of view and on many occasions I made it to the end of the week, despite tables of considerable technical caliber. I really liked the conditions, at slight altitude, which made my game even more effective, and also the placement on the calendar, in the middle of summer, when I often reached top form. Honestly, I felt like I was at home, the audience and all the people working in the event loved me and I could feel this warmth, there was really a beautiful atmosphere, an extra incentive to do well, increased by the scheduling of my matches in the evening session, with so many fans in the stands. And then in the last days, let’s say from the semifinals, a group of my fellow countrymen would also arrive to support me warmly during the matches. At the end we would have dinner together, and when I reached the finals, at the end of the tournament we would go dancing in Riccione making mornings….”

Starace, who currently divides his time between his role as director of the competitive sector of the Due Ponti Sporting Club in Rome and his tennis club in Cervinara, where until the end of August summer centers for children and young people from all over Campania are in full swing, as well as being a member in two well-established padel clubs in Arezzo (“it’s the sport of the moment, which I also practiced for a while after I was done with tennis, and everyone really likes it, including women and young people”), he has no doubts, however, in drawing up a hypothetical ranking of the three successes on the Titan. “As they say, you never forget the first time, and so the title won in the 2004 edition is the one that has remained most in my heart, also because that was the season of my explosion on the tour. In May I won my first Challenger in San Remo, then at Roland Garros I passed the qualifiers entering the draw for the first time in a Slam and eliminated Russian Tursunov and French Grosjean, my first top 10 beaten, surrendering in five sets to Marat Safin after even missing two match-points. On the momentum I also won the Sassuolo Challenger and in July pushed myself to the semifinals in Gstaad, fighting for three sets with home idol Roger Federer, then world No. 1. And I remember well that in San Marino I defeated in three sets the Spaniard Mantilla, then Volandri, No. 1 in the seeding, and in the quarters Seppi, in the semifinals I won over the Belgian Christophe Rochus and in the final over the American Hugo Armando. Thanks to that success I entered the top 100 in the world for the first time, coming in at No. 95 in the ranking, then in September there was also the Davis Cup debut against Poland, where I won both singles contributing to Italy’s passage into Group 1.”

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