Nicola Pietrangeli
Nicola Pietrangeli cropped.jpg
Country (sports) Italy
ResidenceRome, Italy
Born (1933-09-11) 11 September 1933 (age 88)
Tunis, Tunisia
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro1968 (amateur tour from 1953)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1986 (member page)
Career record687-278 (71.4%) [1]
Career titles44
Highest rankingNo. 3 (1959, Lance Tingay)[2]
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenQF (1957)
French OpenW (1959, 1960)
WimbledonSF (1960)
US Open3R (1955, 1965)
Career record21–20
Career titles8
Grand Slam doubles results
French OpenW (1959)
WimbledonF (1956)
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
French OpenW (1958)
Wimbledon3R (1955, 1959)
Team competitions
Davis CupF (1960Ch, 1961Ch)
Medal record
Representing  Italy
Mediterranean Games
Gold medal – first place 1963 Naples Singles
Bronze medal – third place 1963 Naples Doubles

Nicola "Nicky" Pietrangeli (Italian pronunciation: [niˈkɔːla pjeˈtrandʒeli]; born 11 September 1933) is a former Italian tennis player. He won two singles titles at the French Championships and is considered by many to be Italy's greatest tennis champion.[3]


Born 11 September 1933, in Tunis, Tunisia, Pietrangeli made his international debut at the 1952 Italian Open, losing in fours sets to Jacques Peten.[4] He appeared in four men's singles finals at Roland Garros – winning the title in 1959 and 1960, and finishing runner-up in 1961 and 1964. He also won the Roland Garros men's doubles title in 1959 (together with Orlando Sirola), and the mixed doubles in 1958. At Wimbledon, Pietrangeli was a single semifinalist in 1960, when he lost to Rod Laver in 5 sets. He won the Italian Open in 1957 and 1961 and was ranked World No. 3 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph in 1959 and 1960 and also by Ned Potter in 1961.[2][5]

Pietrangeli represented Italy in the Davis Cup between 1954 and 1972. He played in a record 164 Davis Cup rubbers, winning a record 120. He was a player on the Italian teams which reached the Davis Cup final in 1960 and 1961. Both finals were played on grass courts in Australia, and the Italians were not able to overcome the strong Australian team which included Laver, Roy Emerson and Neale Fraser.[6]

After retiring as a player, Pietrangeli became Italy's Davis Cup team captain and guided them to winning their first-ever Davis Cup in 1976.[7]

Pietrangeli was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1986. On his 73rd birthday, the old tennis stadium in Foro Italico of Rome was named in his honour; he is among the very few tennis players to have received such an honour while still living (others include Laver and Margaret Court). He also played a supporting role in the movie "There Was a Castle with Forty Dogs" in 1990.

Personal life

He had a relationship with the Italian journalist Licia Colò, 30 years younger than him.[8]

Grand Slam finals

Singles (2 titles, 2 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1959 French Championships Clay South Africa Ian Vermaak 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, 6–1
Win 1960 French Championships Clay Chile Luis Ayala 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, 4–6, 6–3
Loss 1961 French Championships Clay Spain Manuel Santana 6–4, 1–6, 6–3, 0–6, 2–6
Loss 1964 French Championships Clay Spain Manuel Santana 3–6, 1–6, 6–4, 5–7

Doubles (1 title, 2 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1955 French Championships Clay Italy Orlando Sirola United States Vic Seixas
United States Tony Trabert
1–6, 6–4, 2–6, 4–6
Loss 1956 Wimbledon Championships Grass Italy Orlando Sirola Australia Lew Hoad
Australia Ken Rosewall
5–7, 2–6, 1–6
Win 1959 French Championships Clay Italy Orlando Sirola Australia Roy Emerson
Australia Neale Fraser
6–3, 6–2, 14–12

Mixed doubles (1 title)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1958 French Championships Clay United Kingdom Shirley Bloomer Australia Lorraine Coghlan
Australia Bob Howe
8–6, 6–2

Performance timeline

(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.
Tournament Amateur career Open career Career SR Career W–L Career Win%
'54 '55 '56 '57 '58 '59 '60 '61 '62 '63 '64 '65 '66 '67 '68 '69 '70 '71 '72 '73
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A A A QF A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 1 2–1 67%
French Open 3R 3R QF 1R 4R W W F QF QF F 4R 3R 3R 1R 1R 3R 3R 3R 1R 2 / 20 58–18 79%
Wimbledon 2R QF 4R 1R 4R 1R SF 3R 3R 3R 2R 4R 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R A 3R 1R 0 / 19 30–18 63%
US Open A 3R A A A A A A 1R A 2R 3R A A A A A A A A 0 / 4 5–3 63%
Career 2 / 44 95–40 70%

See also


  1. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Nicola Pietrangeli: Career match record". Madrid: Tennismem SL. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 427.
  3. ^ "Le leggende del tennis italiano Panatta e Pietrangeli ospiti a "Che tempo che fa"". (in Italian). 13 February 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  4. ^ Pietrangeli, Nicola (2020). Gladiatori della terra rossa Roma e il grande tennis. Storia degli Internazionali d'Italia. Giunti. p. Preface. ISBN 9788809907089. Retrieved 9 November 2021. Fui sorteggiato con un belga, Jacques Peten. Aveva 40 anni ed ero sicuro di vincere. Persi in 4 set, una batosta che non ho mai dimenticato.
  5. ^ "Hard Won Major U.S. Title", The Milwaukee Sentinel, 25 December 1961.
  6. ^ "Nicola Pietrangeli, re di Francia nel 1959". (in Italian). 20 May 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  7. ^ "LA FOTO-STORY DI PIETRANGELI, L'AZZURRO DELLE FINALI DAVIS". (in Italian). 23 December 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Licia Colò, parla l'ex fidanzato: "Non so ancora perché ci siamo lasciati"". (in Italian). 7 September 2021. Retrieved 8 September 2021.