Sabrina Baranovschi and Federico Pugliese are the winners of the 2021 Little Tennis Sparks

A unique journey, an unforgettable summer and a boundless passion for this sport. The girls and boys of the Little Tennis Champions Summer Master, premiere of the quadrennial LTC 2022-2026 scholarship project, were really fantastic.

After a period of tennis, athletic and temperamental training in the months of June and July, the 20 prospects selected throughout Italy competed in the Little Tennis Sparks tournament, with the knock-out rounds being played on the courts of the International Training Center ILO di Torino (United Nations Campus) and the finals held on the centre court of Forte Village Resort in Sardinia. At stake the pass for the final trials in 2022 for the non-profit academy I Tennis Campus.

Really high level in all three draws, with the young players who implemented the great teachings received throughout the Summer Master. In the girls’ singles, success went to Sabrina Baranovschi, 3.1 from Cecina and playing at the Circolo Tennis Garden under the guidance of coach Fabrizio Franchi. Semi-finalist at the 2018 Lemon Bowl, Sabrina has been regional champion of Tuscany for the girls’ singles in 2019 and for the doubles in both 2019 and 2020. In 2021 she clinched the Macroarea of Grosseto.

In the Little Tennis Sparks tournament, an uphill struggle from the start due to a sprain on the eve of her first match – expertly treated by Lorenzo Sonego’s physiotherapist Marcello Marini and by the Accademia Asomi, I Tennis Foundation partner -, Sabrina Baranovschi showed variations, solidity from the baseline, remarkable ability when approaching the net and great character, overcoming in the final the unyielding and gifted 3.1 Sicilian Alessandra Fiorillo. Coached by Francesco Palpacelli at the Tennis Club Palermo 2, Alessandra too was the protagonist of a wonderful tournament and of incredible victories like in the semi-final, where she defeated the 2.8 from Bologna Azzurra Cremonini in the tie-break of the third set.

The boys’ singles confirmed the attitude, disposition and great technical abilities of Federico Pugliese, 3.1 born in Turin but who has played the last three seasons at the Tennis Club Finale Ligure under the direction of coach Dionisio Poggi. Ligurian regional champion in 2019 and 2020, in the last season Federico even reached the national final of his age-group’s team championship. An explosive backhand from all position of the court, return and drop shots – as well as surprising match-management skills for his age – are the main characteristics that enabled him to win all matches he played and to authoritatively defeat the Sardinian 3.5 Leonardo Spano. Coached by Mirko Usai at the Tennis Club Ghilarza, in the province of Oristano, Leonardo was without a doubt one of the young prospects who progressed the most during the course of the Summer Master.

In the mixed doubles another success for Sabrina Baranovschi together with the Venetian 3.2 Mattia Bille against the duo Fiorillo-Pugliese. A final in which were certainly decisive the technical abilities of Mattia, as well as his desire for redemption after being knocked out in the singles’ semi-final, at the hands of Pugliese. Coached by Gemiliano Leinardi at the Tennis Club Schio, Bille demonstrated, both throughout the Master and the tournament, the great progress made during the last year, confirmed also by the four rounds he passed in the recent Italian U-13 championship. «They are all exceptional girls and boys, they challenged each other in the tournament and all gave it their best shot – explained Simone Bongiovanni, president of I Tennis Foundation – They filled us with joy thanks to the heart they put in every match and to their technical abilities».

All 20 prospects are invited to the Turin Nitto ATP Finals 2021 by project partner IrenLuce, Gas e Servizi, who also gifted the four singles finalists 2 e-bikes e 2 electric scooters. The winners of the tournament have, in addition, received from Reale Mutua Assicurazioni 2 tickets each for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2022, as well as access to, the online offer to access the networks affiliated with Blue Assistance; and from Valmora a supply of Nitto ATP Finals special edition water.

«Today is a day of celebration – continued Simone Bongiovanni during the award ceremony for the finalists –, that concludes a period of extraordinary education. In the course of the Summer Master and of the tournament some of the best professionals in the world of tennis came to train our prospects and help them in their development. Lorenzo Sonego and Gipo Arbino, special friends of our organisation; and then Ivan Ljubicic, ex top-ten Magnus Larsson, Rocco Loccisano, the Mayor of Turin and FIT vice-president Chiara Appendino. A special thank you to Emilio Sanchez, head coach of our initiative. Emilio is not only one of the most important coaches of this sport, but is most of all a fantastic person who has dedicated heart and soul to our girls and boys. We are a non-profit organisation born three years ago, therefore we are a startup, but we firmly believe in this project. We thank all the partners for having supported us and we thank who will support us from here on out. Now, in fact, will commence an intense fundraising campaign to finance the programme of 4-year scholarships. Among the institutions, I want to express, on behalf of the boys and girls involved in the project and of the whole organisation, our gratitude to Federtennis and to its president Angelo Binaghi, who believed in us when the project was only on paper».

External Relations Director Matteo Musso

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