After countryman Fabio Fognini made history by becoming the oldest tennis player to debut in the Top 10, Matteo Berrettini became the second Italian man to crack the Top 20 after a remarkable run during grass season so far.
The 23-year-old from Rome established a strong presence on the Road to Wimbledon with his first grass title, defeating another nextgen sensation, Felix Auger-Aliassime at Stuttgart, 6-4, 7-6(11). The tennis world has taken notice.
"To say the least I’m impressed," said Roger Federer at a press conference in Halle. "What else can you say? He’s made four, won in four finals since last year in Gstaad. Obviously, I knew he won there, then winning in Stuttgart not dropping a serve, then coming here and continuing the great run, you know, that's impressive.
So, he’s somebody to watch out for here obviously but also then at Wimbledon." Matteo's confidence never wavered during the run to his third ATP title at the Mercedes Cup, including wins over top players Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov in his opening rounds.
The world No. 20 only faced two break points throughout the tournament. Even more imposing, he managed to clinch the title without dropping serve. His breakthrough grass title pushed him eight spaces up on the ATP rankings to No.
22 at the time. He is now No. 20. “On grass, the first tournament of the year [on this surface] beating these unbelievable guys… there were a lot of tough moments,” said Berrettini, after winning the title in Stuttgart.
“I never lost my serve, but all the matches were so close and I’m really happy for what I did on the court because it was mentally really difficult to stay there and I’m really proud of myself”. The young Italian followed up Stuttgart with another impressive performance at the Noventi Open at Halle, where he progressed to the semifinal, falling in two sets to finalist David Goffin, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Matteo Berrettini has been rapidly rising through the rankings. The Italian began grass season in the Top 30 after winning his second ATP title in April at Budapest and getting to another final last month at the Bavarian International.
Both events were on clay, making his segue to grass even more austere. Additionally, Berrettini won a Challenger event in Pheonix in March. His first ATP title came on clay just last year at Gstaad.