With a unique atmosphere on the court and renowned food and culture off it, Italy is a firm favourite with plenty of ATP Tour stars.
Yet which aspects of the southern European country most appeal to the players in Turin this week for the Nitto ATP Finals? Be it food, films, or Formula 1, ATPTour.com sat down with some of the doubles teams in Green Group to find out…
What is your favourite on-court memory in Italy?
Ivan Dodig: To be honest I like one special word in Italy, when we are on court, how they are cheering for the players. They say, ‘Dai, dai, dai’. It’s like we say in Croatia, ‘Idemo’. It’s famous, whenever we go around Italy, I always hear that, especially when Italian players are playing.
Austin Krajicek: Last year in Florence we played a 250 leading up to here and the crowd support there was amazing. We played a couple of Italian teams in a row, and although the crowd was significantly against us, to hear how loud the stadium was when we lost a point and how pin drop quiet it was when we won a point was a pretty cool experience. It’s cool to be in those atmospheres.
Edouard Roger-Vasselin: Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, I think the first time I brought my girlfriend at that time, who is my wife now, and we went to a Challenger in Italy together. I think it was the first time she came with me to a Challenger, and I made the final. It’s a good memory because it was one of the first times I made the final in a Challenger and my girlfriend was there, so we enjoyed the Italian style, the Italian culture the Italian food, obviously. It was a good memory.
Santiago Gonzalez: The last time I played in Rome. We played on Court Pietrangeli. It was amazing. I love the place… Actually Rome is one of my favourite cities for walking around everywhere.
What is your favourite off-court aspect of being in Italy?
Andres Molteni: I like Italy a lot. I have Italian blood, an Italian passport as well. My grandparents came from here, so we have a union, I think, between us and Italy.
Dodig: Pasta. Pizza. Mozzarella. Burrata. Repeat.
Maximo Gonzalez: I always enjoy being here. It’s one of my favourite places, one of my favourite countries. In Argentina we have some Italian blood. I have many good memories.
If you had the choice would you visit the Colosseum in Rome or climb Mount Vesuvius?
Krajicek: I think I would do the climbing. I’m a bit more of a get-active guy and I’ve seen the Colosseum a couple of times.
S. Gonzalez: I entered the Colosseum like 10 times already, so I would go for a new experience.
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Which film would you rather watch, The Godfather or The Italian Job?
S. Gonzalez: The Italian Job. That’s a good one. It’s in Turin as well. I like that one, because The Godfather was a little too slow for me. It’s a great movie, but I prefer The Italian Job.
Molteni: I don’t know, I only saw parts of those movies!
Would you rather watch a Serie A football match or the historic Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Dodig: Monza. I’m a big F1 fan and for me it’s all about Monza, even though I’m a soccer fan.
Roger-Vasselin: The F1 Grand Prix for me. I never experienced this, and it is on my to-do list at some point in time. I haven’t been in any Italian football stadium, but [I have been] in France, in England, in Spain. Definitely F1 is something I want to do.
S. Gonzalez: I just went three days ago to A.C. Milan vs. PSG. So already I have that mark checked and would go to the F1.
Favourite pizza topping? Is there any topping you won’t touch?
Dodig: My favourite Is here in Turin. Pizza with mortadella, pistachios on top and olive oil. The best ever. I figured it out two years ago and I’m always looking forward to having it, especially here in Turin.
Roger-Vasselin: I don’t want pineapple. No way. Especially here [in Turin] I love the truffle on top of the pizza, on top of everything. I love it. Our wives are going to buy some from Alba, which is like an hour from here or 30 minutes from here. Their job of the week to bring some truffle back home.
M. Gonzalez: Mozzarella. Just margherita with cheese. That’s my favourite here.
Which Italian dish can you cook best?
Krajicek: An Italian dish? I mean, I would struggle a little bit. We live in Texas, so grilling is more of our thing. I like to focus on meat a little bit. I could probably figure out some sort of pasta but it’s not going to be even remotely the same as here, that’s for sure. I’m going out to eat Italian.
Roger-Vasselin: Last Christmas I bought an oven to do some pizza. So I’ve been trying to make some pizzas at home and we are improving. I will say I’m not that bad at making some pizza.