Paolo Maldini to make his professional tennis debut

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Italy and AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini is set to make his professional tennis debut in the ATP Aspria Tennis Cup next week.

Maldini earned a wild card where he will partner his coach and former professional Stefano Landonio, 45, in the men’s doubles. He will now celebrate his 49th birthday at the Aspria Harbour Club of Milan.

Maldini started playing tennis after he retired from football in 2009.

“Paolo’s gifted with a good serve in addition to some decent shots,” Landonio told the Tennis Italiano website. “He’s also improving his volleys and while he may not be catching the eye in any particular part of his game, he does not have any weaknesses either.”

The Aspria Tennis Cup event is actually part of the ATP Challenger Tour – the second tier of professional tennis. Players who succeed in the tour earn sufficient ranking points to become eligible for the main draw or qualifying draw entry to the ATP World Tour tournaments.

Landonio further said that Maldini could have had a promising career in tennis, had he taken the game up earlier.

“Since he only started playing five or six years ago, there are some deficits in terms of technique,”

“If he’d started working on his technique earlier, then who knows?”

Hailed as one of the best defenders ever to grace the footballing world, Maldini played his whole career for AC Milan and won 26 titles in the process that included five European Cups. He played in a record 647 Serie A appearances before retiring in 2009.