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First Time Winner Spotlight: Fabio Fognini

Stuttgart, Germany

Fognini© MercedesCup Fabio Fognini celebrates winning the Stuttgart title on Sunday.

Fabio Fognini captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the MercedesCup with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win over second seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. He now has a 1-2 record in finals.

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The 26-year-old Fognini joined Carlos Berlocq, who also won his first ATP World Tour title at the SkiStar Swedish Open. Read Berlocq Spotlight Feature

ATPWorldTour.com caught up with World No. 31 Fognini prior to departure for next week's bet-at-home Open - Germany Tennis Championships 2013 in Hamburg.

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How does it feel to be standing here with the trophy and taking home the Mercedes while becoming the first Italian to win the title?
I am happy to have won my first title. It was a really good week. Amazing!

You didn’t lose a set en route to the final and you beat the No. 1 [Tommy Haas] and No. 2 [Kohlschreiber] seeds. How did you put it all together?
It is always difficult to play in Germany against Haas, who has been in the Top 10, and also Kohlschreiber, who I have always lost to. Today and during the week, my tennis worked well.

What did you do well during the week to win five matches for the first time in an ATP World Tour tournament?
I was more relaxed. I tried to enjoy every point, game and match. Mentally, I was really, really strong. I think that was the key to the week.

It was your third ATP World Tour final. Do you feel like the third time was the charm?
Probably. I don’t know. I was feeling amazing every day and my confidence grew as the week went on. 

Did you approach this final differently than you did in the other two?
I have to be honest that I slept only three hours last night. My worst night of the week. 

Is clay your best surface and what is your strength?
I think it is my best surface. I was born in Italy and trained in Spain. I played my first final indoors. My next goal is to play another final indoors or on a hard court and try to win.

With yourself and Andreas [Seppi] in the Top 25 earlier this season, what is the overall state of Italian tennis?
We have two Top 30 players, so it is a nice feeling for Italian tennis. Andreas and I are friends off the court, so I wish him the best of luck.

You’ve finished in the Top 50 the past two years; do you have a ranking goal for this year?
No. I think my goal was to stay focused on my physically and mental conditioning. I would like to stay in the Top 30, but importantly improve my game, especially on hard courts.

You’re had a lot of different people help you during your career. Is there anyone who you would like to thank for their support?
My family is my greatest supporters. My father, mother, sister and now my girlfriend, thanks for everyone. Thanks to my coach [Jose Perlas] and physio, who have worked hard with me over the past two years.

When you were younger growing up, did you have any one as a role model?
Carlos Moya was my idol. When I played him for the first time [at 2006 Buenos Aires] it was really exciting. I had the opportunity to beat him as well in Umag [2008]. Of course my coach also coached him.

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