It was 1976. Forty-three years have passed since that one time when the Italian team won the Davis Cup, beating Chile 4-1. On that occasion, the captain Nicola Pietrangeli had with him Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti, Paolo Bertolucci and Tonino Zugarelli.
Founded in 1922, the Italian Davis Cup team also played another six finals (1960, 1961, 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1998). Until 2000, Italy was the only team to have ever been present in the World Group. This year, after a very long time, captain Corrado Barazzutti will be able to count on a very competitive team for the final week of the new Davis Cup, with Fabio Fognini, Marco Cecchinato and Matteo Berrettini, who could guarantee a mix of quality, strength and talent.
Italian men's tennis is constantly growing and, although the team is in the group along with tough opponents like USA and Canada, there are many chances to get to the end. Now or never, as they say in these cases. Arrived at the end of the season, if the players will still have their batteries charged, then there could be big surprises, with Fognini, Cecchianto and Berrettini complementary to each other, even in doubles matches.
The new Davis Cup format could also help Italian tennis players, especially because they will play at the best of three sets. On the indoor hard courts of Caja Mágica, in Madrid, Fognini and the others will have to show that 2019 is really the year of their technical, tactical, physical and mental maturity, even on a surface as fast as hard-courts.
Barazzutti's technical and tactical project has already given important signals on the grass courts of the Calcutta South Club, in India, where his guys defeated the home team for 1-3. On that occasion, there were Andreas Seppi and Simone Bolelli, two other tennis players who can guarantee solidity and experience. Will this be the right year to return to victory?