Thirteen home players have received main draw wild cards to the 2023 Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Main draw wild cards have been awarded to Matteo Arnaldi (World No.105), Francesco Passaro (No.120), Giulio Zeppieri (No.125), Fabio Fognini (No.127) and Luca Nardi (No.152) in the men’s singles competition; to Sara Errani (World No.83), Lucia Bronzetti (No.97), Lucrezia Stefanini (No.117), Nuria Brancaccio (No.170), Camilla Rosatello (No.259), Matilde Paoletti (No.301), Diletta Cherubini (No.411) and Lisa Pigato (No.493) in the women’s singles tournament.
Arnaldi, projected to break into the Top 100 on May 8, made his Masters 1000 debut last year in Rome losing to the former Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic. The 22-year old Italia finished last season competing at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. In 2023 he made hid debut at the Australian Open and five ATP Tour events prior to arriving in Madrid. There Arnaldi completed his biggest win so far beating World No.4 Casper Ruud and reaching for the first time the third round in an ATP Masters 1000 event.
His friend Francesco Passaro made his breakthrough in 2022, too. He broke into Top 500 in March 2022 and Top 200 in July 2022 before achieving career-high No. 122 in September 2022 and qualifying for Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Last year he advanced to five Challenger finals on Italian clay in 2022, highlighted by his first title at Trieste, made his debut at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and clinched his first ATP Tour win in Florence.
The left-hander Giulio Zeppieri, instead, will be in Rome for the third time. In 2020 he lost to his longtime friend Lorenzo Musetti during the pre-qualifying tournament, while last year he qualified thanks to solid wins over Alex Molcan and Maxime Cressy. He lost to the then World No.26 Karen Khachanov. Later last season, he qualified for his first Grand Slam main draw at Roland Garros then he sealed his maiden ATP win at Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, where he moved through to the semifinals.
The Italian Tennis Federation awarded a wild card to one of the most iconic Italian players of modern era, Fabio Fognini who boasts most victories of any Italian man in Open Era, highlighted by the biggest win of his career over No. 1 Murray at the Foro Italico in 2017.
Two years later, in 2019, he became the first Italian ATP Masters 1000 champion, beating Nadal for the third time on clay en route to 2019 Monte Carlo title, and the oldest player to break into Top 10 for the first time.
The lowest-ranked player to receive a wildcard to compete in the main draw is Luca Nardi.
Earlier this season the 2003-born made his debut at the Monte-Carlo Masters where he won his first round match, recording his first Masters win and only his second on ATP tour-level, over wildcard Valentin Vacherot.
Eight Italian players have received wild cards to the women’s singles main draw of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, including Sara Errani, the only Italian woman to have contested the Rome final in the past 25 years.
Also Lucia Bronzetti, who received a wild card, played a WTA final on home soil, in Palermo last July.
Italian fans will have the chance to observe Lucrezia Stefanini, 24, who plays with both double-handed strokes, and Nuria Brancaccio, 22, who reached her first WTA 125 final in Bari last year and reached her first WTA quarterfinal in Bogota earlier this season.
The Italian Federation decided also to award a wild card to promising young talents like the former Top 20 junior player Matilde Paoletti, the 2020 Roland Garros girls’ doubles champion Lisa Pigato and the WTA debutant Diletta Cherubini. The final main draw wild card has been assigned to No.259-ranked Camilla Rosatello.
Qualifying wild cards have been awarded to Mattia Bellucci, Francesco Maestrelli, Flavio Cobolli, Matteo Gigante; Deborah Chiesa, Martina Colmegna, Angelica Moratelli, Anna Turati and Federica Urgesi.