Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev are fighting for the Madrid Open title, with the German seeking the fourth and the Italian his first Masters 1000 crown. Struggling with injuries in the previous year, Matteo has found his best tennis again in 2021, losing only three matches and advancing into the first Masters 1000 final with a rock-solid triumph over Casper Ruud in the semis.
On the other hand, Zverev is chasing the second Madrid Open title, beating Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the previous encounters and hoping for another strong performance against the Italian. Speaking about his opponent, Matteo understands how tough it will be to beat Zverev, watching the German in action this week and praising his serve and movement.
"Going this far leaves me with an excellent feeling; it is something different in a way. When you are playing out there, you accidentally think that you can go to a final, although in the past, I was in the semi-final of the US Open, but it was different.
Without a doubt, it is a great feeling, especially if we take into account the struggle I have had in recent months with my injury; I worked very hard to recover, and I feel much better on the court now. I worked very hard in the preseason, but I was not quite comfortable on the court in the early matches.
I came to think that all the work I had done had been for nothing, but it finally paid off.
Matteo Berrettini praised Alexander Zverev ahead of their Madrid Open clash.
Since I arrived in Australia and started my quarantine and training sessions, I said to my coach: 'I'm fine, I see myself playing well.'
Many times it is simply a matter of mental performance, of accumulated confidence. My agent, Ivan Ljubicic, also helped me in some way, supporting me and telling me that he trusts me. That kind of thing, coming from someone who had an incredible career, helped me a lot.
I felt my whole team was behind me. After Australia, I saw that I could play the way I wanted; that's when I stopped getting pissed off about the injury I had suffered. I'm happy with my performance against Ruud. We had played before, I think this was our fourth clash, so I knew him very well, as well as he knows me.
The key was to put his serve under pressure and push him from the forehand wing. That was the plan, and it worked well. Alexander Zverev and I had good matches in Rome, and he also beat me under the roof in Shanghai. I have seen him playing this week; he moves well and serves big. He beat Rafa and Dominic, possibly the two best clay-courters; it will not be easy for me," Matteo Berrettini said.