Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Luzzi dies

Sad news for the tennis world. Federico Luzzi, a former top-100 tennis player, has died of leukemia. He was only 28.

Luzzi died at a hospital in Arezzo, the Italian Tennis Federation said Saturday. He had been there for a few days after retiring last weekend from an Italian league match citing a high fever.

Luzzi reached a career-high ranking of No. 92 in 2002 before a shoulder injury that affected him the rest of his career.

He had a 2-2 record with Italy's Davis Cup team. In 2001, Luzzi beat Ville Liukko of Finland 14-12 in the fifth set after 4 hours, 35 minutes — the longest Davis Cup match ever played by an Italian.

Impresa Rinaldini, a friend of Luzzi's remembers:
"In the semifinals of an under 16 year old boys competition Federico was losing to Fernando Gonzalez 0/6 0/5. Yes, this was the same Gonzalez, who went on to become world No.5. Only great champions can turnaround a match like this. Fede was able to do this. He saved 9 match points and then won the set. During the changeover he told Gonzalez; "- You know, you're not gonna win this one?"

In February, Luzzi was suspended for 200 days and fined US$50,000 by the ATP for betting on tennis.

Luzzi is survived by his parents, Paola and Maurizio, and his sister, Francesca.


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