A painful ending . Emotionally and physically. The last time Italy went all the way in the Davis Cup , against Sweden . At the Assago Forum, in Milan, between 4 and 6 December 1998, enthusiasts and fans supported a team close to success, following the splendid 4-1 victory in the semifinal, in Milwaukee, against the United States . After three consecutive semifinals, here is the final act played at home, the chance to repeat the success of 1976 .
There was hope and trust, but dreams were shattered immediately, together with the shoulder of the best blue tennis player of that generation, Andrea Gaudenzi from Faenza.. One of the few to have beaten Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, in his last match, in 2002 at Roland Garros. Undisputed leader of a team coached by Paolo Bertolucci , who had replaced, with related controversies, his former double partner Adriano Panatta on the blue bench, and made up of the Neapolitan Diego Nargiso , Davide Sanguinetti from La Spezia and Gianluca Pozzi from Bari , as a reserve.

Andrea Gaudenzi with his tricolor headband, the image of an athlete who reached the top with strength, determination and effort; a story broken on the most beautiful . In the first singular I confront Magnus Norman, in a hard-fought and far too long game. Andrea, however, unfortunately came from a bad injury, resulting in an operation on his right shoulder, the joint most stressed by the movement of the serve.

He had recovered, but perhaps not quite . The match dragged on in a jolt of set, it is said that Gaudenzi in the locker room asked for an injection of painkiller . The two players reached the fifth set, with the Swede leading 4-0. Here is the strength of Andrea who, despite everything, comeback even reaching 6-5 , but on the last serve, that of the match-point, the tendon gave way : a cry, silence and then retirement. After almost six hours of play, Gaudenzi gave up and with him the dreams of Italian tennis.
Because for the blue team, that dramatic and dramatic injury was a shock: Sanguinetti , immediately after, took the field almost unmotivated and was outclassed by Gustafsson. The day after, in the doubles, Bertolucci lined up Sanguinetti next to Nargiso, but it didn’t work at all: bravely arrived at the tie break in the first set, Jonas Bjorkman and Nicklas Kulti demolished them in the following sets for a dry 3-0 (7-6 , 6-1, 6-3). It was Sweden that lifted the Davis Cup to the top with the final scoring 4-1 .

Andrea , who also lived with injuries in the following years, retired from competitive activity in 2003. Since 2012, and general manager of Real Fun Games after having worked with various positions in Bwin since 2006.

Sanguinetti , after a defeat in the second round of the futures tournament in Caltanissetta by Gianluca Naso, decides to retire on 13 March 2008 . He was the coach of tennis player Vince Spadea. Since February 2011 he has been training Russian tennis player Dinara Safina. In 2010 he became Technical Sports Consultant of the Challenger Atp of Caltanissetta. In 2012 he became the coach of the Japanese tennis player Go Soeda.

Diego Nargiso left the professional activity in 2001. He was a candidate in the 1999 European elections with Forza Italia and those of 2004 in the ranks of the National Alliance in the central Italy district, but both times he was not elected: on the second occasion he obtained 5,948 votes.

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