Playing just two matches at the beginning of 2020 due to injuries that have been bothering him since the closing stages of 2019, Matteo Berrettini is spending time in isolation in the USA, embracing physical preparations and waiting for some positive news about the restart of the season.
World no. 8 spoke for the Sky Sport from his current home in the States, covering various topics and revealing the turning point of the previous season that came at the US Open. The start of the season wasn't that good for the Rome native, losing nine of the first 15 ATP matches and even playing a Challenger between Indian Wells and Miami to add points to his tally.
At the end of April, Berrettini brought his best tennis in Budapest, lifting his second ATP title and reaching another final next week in Munich to crack the top-35. Switching to grass, Matteo produced spectacular performance in Stuttgart where he dominated from start to finish to secure the title, facing two break points in five encounters!
Matteo was also the semi-finalist in Halle, losing to Roger Federer in the fourth round at Wimbledon and struggling to keep the winning rhythm in the next couple of weeks. That all changed at the US Open where he ousted Richard Gasquet, Jordan Thompson and Alexei Popyrin in four sets to find himself in the fourth round, taking down Andrey Rublev and prevailing over Gael Monfils after an epic battle to advance into the first Major semi-final.
There, he fought well in the first couple of sets against Rafael Nadal before losing in straight sets, taking home 720 points and moving closer to the place in the top-10 where he entered following the semi-final in Shanghai and Vienna.
Despite an early exit in Paris, Matteo punched the ATP Finals ticket for the first time, getting a chance to play at the elite ATP event and scoring a win over Dominic Thiem. "Things started to change after the semi-final in New York," Berrettini said.
"The US Open was a big step forward, not thinking about the top-10 but of playing as best as I could. I don't even know how it happened, but I think the US Open was the springboard. It would be hard for me to pick the favorite surface; it would have been clay if you had asked me 12 months ago but now I play well on all of them.
At the moment, an outdoor hard court probably suits my game best. I was ready to play Indian Wells but with tennis in the background at the moment, I'm trying to improve my fitness; I have to find the shape after that break at the beginning of the year. I never give up, but I have to strengthen the lateral movements and raise my overall game."