As the Italian journalist Luca Fiorano reports, world no. 8 Matteo Berrettini will miss the upcoming ATP Cup, still struggling with an abdominal injury. The Rome native had a fantastic season that propelled him towards the ATP Finals debut but he wasn't at his best in the closing events of the year, dropping six of the last seven encounters and needing more time to recover ahead of the Australian Open.
Italy will face Russia, the USA and Norway in Group D in Perth, with Fabio Fognini, Stefano Travaglia, Paolo Lorenzi and Simone Bolleli as the other players of the squad, joined by Alessandro Giannessi. Also, Simone Vagnozzi will replace Berrettini's coach Vincenzo Santopadre as the team captain.
The 23-year-old Berrettini cracked the top-10 in the last week of October, joining Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti and Fabio Fognini as the fourth Italian on the exclusive list, achieving that after a slow start of the year and doing an incredible job in joining the ATP Finals squad.
Matteo couldn't make any progress until the last week of April, dropping nine of the first 15 ATP matches and remaining in the top-60 thanks to 125 points earned at strong Challenger in Phoenix between early exits at Indian Wells and Miami.
With five straight ATP losses, Matteo went to Budapest and found his best tennis, overcoming a deficit in the final against Filip Krajinovic to lift the second ATP title that couldn't come in the better moment. A week later, the Italian advanced into another final in Munich, entering the top-35 and reaching the last 16 at home in Rome.
Switching focus to grass, Berrettini competed at his first ATP tournament as the top-30 player in Stuttgart and delivered incredible tennis to topple five opponents and lift the second crown of the season, facing two break points in the entire week!
David Goffin halted the Italian in the semi-final in Halle before Roger Federer stormed over him in the fourth round at Wimbledon, with Berrettini getting back at his best at the US Open, using a favorable draw to secure the first Major semi-final, ousted by Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
With two more notable wins under his belt in Shanghai, Matteo stayed on the course towards the elite group after playing in the semis, joining the top-10 and staying in contention for the ATP Finals. That dream almost went away in Paris after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took him down in the second round, struggling with that injury and having to wait for the results of his main opponents to secure the London berth.
Matteo's fate was in Denis Shapovalov's hands, with the Canadian defeating Gael Monfils who had the opportunity to secure his place among the elite eight in London ahead of Matteo. As always, Gael cracked under pressure and lost 6-2, 6-2, propelling Berrettini towards the ATP Finals for the first time, joining Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev as the third debutant.
In London, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer proved to be too strong for Berrettini who closed the action with a win over Dominic Thiem, adding 200 points to his tally and heading to the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid where Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz defeated him in close encounters.