The Matsui’s Dream and Ramos’ italian coach

Among the protagonists of the tournament are number 1 Albert Ramos, followed by the Italian coach Gianluca Carbone, and the eternal Toshihide Matsui, who at 46 years old is very close to the top-100 in doubles and the dream of playing a Slam.

In the depths of the ASPRIA Harbor Club, however, the absence of tennis allows us to uncover particularly interesting stories. Everyone knows, for example, that Albert Ramos-Vinolas is the number 1 seed, favorite of the tournament and on the hunt for a hat trick which would be historic, given that he is already the only player to have won twice in Milan (in 2011 and in 2014). Not everyone knows, however, that the Catalan is followed at the ASPRIA Harbor Club by an Italian coach. This is Gianluca Carbone, a 49-year-old from Puglia with whom he had already collaborated in 2019 and 2020. At the beginning of the season, Ramos contacted him to ask him to support his historic coach José Maria Diaz. “ We alternate tournaments in which we follow Albert – says Carbone – who is a boy of exemplary professionalism. He is now 36 years old but he is determined to return to the top 100 and stay there for as long as possible, in order to end his career in a prestigious position .” For his part, the Apulian coach comes from varied experiences: after following Elena Bovina and Olivier Rochus at the beginning of their coaching career, he coached Lorenzo Giustino for a long period (he was in his corner when he won the historic match against Moutet at Roland Garros, 18-16 in the fifth set) and then undertook a collaboration with the Estonian tennis federation, made possible thanks to the work with Kristjan Tamm, quickly brought to the best ranking (n.625) before he injured his shoulder. A scholar and profound connoisseur of the Spanish method, on which he published a study years ago, Carbone is increasingly oriented towards high levels and his results confirm the goodness of Italian coaches, even those not directly involved with our players . In the Ramos clan, in Milan, there is also the 26-year-old Matteo Meneghetti, currently involved in the qualifiers of the ITF tournaments after having decided, no longer very young, to undertake professional activity. Meanwhile he is sparring with Ramos and will try to steal as many secrets as possible from the Spaniard.


The doubles tournament does not always enjoy mainstream attention, but by sifting through the main draw of the Milanese tournament (where 27 of the 32 protagonists dedicate themselves exclusively to the specialty), it turns out that there is the oldest player on the circuit among those who carry out regular activities . And it’s even more mind-blowing that Toshihide Matsui is having his best time today, at 46 years of age. Former ATP number 261 in singles in 2006, a few years ago he set a goal that seemed crazy – given the starting point – and which today, however, is closer than ever: playing a Grand Slam tournament. He is currently number 124 in the ATP doubles ranking, a stone’s throw from the best ranking (121) obtained a month ago. He is a regular partner with the 29-year-old Kaito Uesugi and together they are achieving notable results, to the point of coming close to the top-100 in the specialty. During the Covid stop he had thought about retiring, also because he became his father (his wife Tomoyo Tagakishi is a former tennis player), but he feels he still has health, strength and motivation. On an athletic level he makes an impression, having a sculpted physique that would be the envy of many twenty-year-olds. And so, with the examples of Kimiko Date (who played until she was 47) and the footballer Kazuyoshi Miura, still active at 57, he insists on his dream of playing a Slam. He is getting closer and closer to the goal, and Milan could help him in this sense. The Japanese pair will play their fifth match on court 13 against the South Americans Bueno-Gomez. An apparently banal match, therefore, actually has a curious story behind it. There are many in Challenger tournaments, but this one is really special.