A second-round loss at the season-opening ATP event in Turkey has convinced Fabio Fognini that he still has work to do after a pair of 2020 ankle operations.

The 33-year-old who still holds the title at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning the last edition in 2019, lost in the second round at Antalya, last stop before next week’s Australian Open quarantine period.

Defeat to Jeremy Chardy was not a pleasant sensation for the fiery Italian:

“I know I have to suffer a lot in every match. I need matches like the ones I played in Antalya. 

“I still don’t feel 100 per cent after my surgeries.”

The No. 17 added: “Every match I play is important, especially very close ones where I can compete to the last point.

“I need to feel competitive again for the next tournaments.”

The father of two married to 2015 US Open winner Flavia Pennetta said he knew that coming back to form would be a tough ask – and was not helped by the COVID-19 shutdown which cut the 2020 season in half.

“I know what I can do when I play tennis. If I start to feel good physically, I’m sure that the results will arrive sooner or later.

“I need to be pain-free and enjoy myself again. “With some time, my tennis can return to the previous level,” said the winner of nine ATP titles.

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