World no. 8 Matteo Berrettini is yet to score a win over Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, losing all four encounters against the world's leading players but feeling grateful for the chance to compete against them.
The young Italian is currently in the USA, working on physical strength and hoping for the season to resume as soon as possible, an unlikely scenario after all the issues with the coronavirus pandemic. After a slow start of the previous season, Matteo found the way to deliver his best tennis, claiming two ATP titles and 43 victories on the Tour to secure the place at the ATP Finals at the last moment.
Berrettini lost nine of the first 15 ATP matches in 2019 and even played a Challenger between Indian Wells and Miami to add points to his tally and maintain the rhythm. The Rome native brought his best tennis in Budapest at the end of April, 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 on the surface he barely knew before, facing only 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 upcoming two months.
That all changed at the US Open where he defeated Richard Gasquet, Jordan Thompson and Alexei Popyrin in four sets to find himself in the last 16, 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 at the beginning 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. That US Open encounter was the only one between Nadal and Berrettini so far, with the young Italian losing twice to Roger Federer last year at Wimbledon and the ATP Finals, taking only three games versus Novak Djokovic at the season-ending event as well.
"I was lucky enough to play against the big 3 and also against Andy Murray, who beat me despite not being at 100%. Novak Djokovic, emotional Roger Federer and physical Rafael Nadal put me in more technical difficulty."