Berrettini out from the Australian Open: it's time to ask himself some questions

The feeling is truly negative: many wonder that the final reached at Wimbledon was just a coincidence

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Berrettini out from the Australian Open: it's time to ask himself some questions
© Kelly Defina / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Another withdrawal. Another. Still. Yet another for Matteo Berrettini, in the last few months, or rather, from the 2021 Wimbledon final onwards. There's something wrong, and at this point we wonder if it's just physical problems.

The amount of injuries suffered by the Italian player is disconcerting: but these fragilities must find an explanation. Only a few weeks ago, with cautious optimism, Matteo flew to Australia to try to get back on the court and test his physical condition in the first grand slam event of the season.

The Italian tennis player missed the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament, in which he had signed up at the last minute, but then came another sad announcement that no fan wanted to read: Berrettini also withdrew from the Australian Open 2024.

The reason, reported in a X by the tournament organizers, is an injury to the right foot which in no way allowed the player now coached by Francisco Roig to take part in the competition. Replacing him will be the Belgian Zizou Bergs (lucky loser), who will have to face the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round. But the problem remains.

Berrettini
Berrettini© Kelly Defina / Stringer Getty Images Sport
 

Either there is something that isn't working in the physical preparation (isn't it time to clear out athletic trainers and physical therapists and rely on a new team?), or it's a psychological problem. Berrettini has been experiencing a dramatic professional situation for two years now, aggravated by the many attacks received on social media (and not only) regarding his private life. The relationship with the Italian showgirl Melissa Satta ended up in the Italian spotlight. Many fans have blamed Berrettini's poor performance and his injuries on his relationship with his girlfriend.

There were moments of strong tension for the tennis player and the showgirl, who also had to justify themselves on social media. Regardless of what the problem is, many detractors of the Italian tennis player are starting to doubt his real potential, going as far as to define his Wimbledon final as just a miracle or a stroke of luck, as can be read in many comments on social media. Others, still circulating on social media, write how Berrettini is one of the most overrated tennis players of his generation.

Criticisms and insinuations are never fair or pleasant and Berrettini certainly doesn't deserve them, as far as his private life is concerned. But the player should think carefully about what is happening, about his body and his team. Something isn't working and things are getting out of hand. It's time to make some changes or reflect, investigating deeply into the deep black well, trying to understand if there is (or not) a way out of this crisis.

Will Matteo benefit from protected ranking?

The option of taking advantage of the protected ranking, given that the last match played dates back to August 31 at the US Open, is not at all remote.

Berrettini could return directly to American hard courts with a better ranking than the current one, which would at least allow him to be in the main draw of the ATP Master 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami.

In fact, the protected ranking is determined by the player's average ranking position during the first three months after his injury, with a total validity of nine tournaments. Net of these assessments, Berrettini will have to recover from this new physical problem, definitively trying to return to the court and play continuously.

Between the end of December and the beginning of January, a foot problem stopped the Italian tennis player. The 27-year-old thus made the bitter decision to remove himself from the official entry list of the ATP 250 in Brisbane, in which he was currently out of some places to enter the main draw by right and was therefore expected to play the qualifiers from December 29th .

In those days the flight to Australia was obviously postponed. The hope of the fans and of the athlete himself, together with the new staff, is to recover in time to present himself at the Melbourne Slam in good condition to be able to compete with the best. But expectations were largely dashed after Matteo's withdrawal from the Australian Slam.

Practically for about a year and a half, dismayed by a series of injuries, the former Wimbledon finalist has fallen further in the world ranking, definitively leaving the top 100. Berrettini, who began working with Francisco Roig after concluding the historic collaboration with Vincenzo Santopadre will not be able to defend the 160 points obtained at the beginning of 2023 at the United Cup and will drop to 522 points in the standings.

Looking at the ranking, Berrettini would now end up at number 123 but the real risk is of losing further positions. An endless ordeal for the Italian, looking for physical stability to be able to continuously take part in the tournaments scheduled throughout the year, which certainly won't start in the best way.

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