Italy's Fabio Fognini says he is looking forward to playing in the inaugural Diriyah Cup in Abu Dhabi, which takes place from 12 to 14 December in Diriyah, the UNESCO World Heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh. This is the first tennis tournament that is being held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to Sport360, Fognini commented, "The Middle East is a region that has a lot of hunger for tennis and I believe we should be able to play in this region more often. It would help tennis develop and it would give players more opportunities.
It is an honor to play in a new event. I am glad the organizers have chosen me to play in this new venue, which is apparently a very unique place. I think it is a great opportunity for the people of Saudi Arabia to be able to attend such world-class events live, and I believe it is good for the country as well.
It is quite important as it gives you similar feeling and playing conditions as the Australian Open, so for us coming from Europe is very good preparation. I had a good year in 2019, so the goal is always to do a bit better than the previous year”.
Besides Fognini, the tournament also includes three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, World No. 11 David Goffin of Belgium, World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev, American John Isner and Frenchman Lucas Pouille. Two more players are yet to be announced.
Fognini said of the line-up, "It’s a very competitive line-up, players with different styles. It will be interesting to see who will play better I think with Goffin and Isner I get along very well”. Speaking about his temperament for which he often receives a lot of criticism, Fognini says, "I am who I am, in the good and bad, I believe I show my emotions when I play, and this could be my weakness or my strength…but I think people like to watch me play also for that!”