Fabio Fognini: I played great tennis in 2018 and I hope to do same in 2019

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Fabio Fognini: I played great tennis in 2018 and I hope to do same in 2019

Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini looks forward to playing Auckland at the beginning of the 2019 season. The 31-year-old has enjoyed a great 2018 campaign as he hopes to do the same next year. The Italian ended champion in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos, as well as achieved his career-high ranking of No.

13 in the world this past season. Fognini was giving his best effort to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals -- but eventually fell short in his attempt as he will have to wait for at least one more year to debut at The O2 Arena.

Fognini, who debuted in Auckland in 2010, is set to make his fourth appearance at the ASB Classic. The Italian picked up back-to-back first-round losses in Auckland in 2010 and 2011 before he reached the quarter-final in 2016.

"I like playing in Auckland. I've had some great matches there and the crowd is amazing to play in front of. I've been playing some great tennis this year and I hope to do the same in 2019," Fognini said, per ASB Classic press release, as revealed on Scoop NZ.

Auckland Tournament Director Karl Budge is delighted to have secured Fognini for the next year's tournament edition. "Fabio is one of the most entertaining blokes on tour. He plays with that real Italian passion and flare that captivates crowds.

He is great to have in the field," Budge said. The men's ASB Classic in Auckland is due to be held from 07-12 January. Also read: Karen Khachanov is ready to become a protagonist