Matteo Berrettini reveals time Roger Federer cried in front of other players

A few years ago, Berrettini witnessed a memorable scene where his idol Federer was the main actor.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Matteo Berrettini reveals time Roger Federer cried in front of other players
© Getty Images Sport - Justin Setterfield

Matteo Berrettini reveals Roger Federer got emotional in front of other players during his 2022 Laver Cup farewell as the Swiss tennis icon broke down in tears while explaining to other players how "lucky" they were to be able to continue doing what they love. 

In 2022 September, former 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer put an end to his astonishing career at the Laver Cup, which also featured Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray that year. 

After undergoing a knee surgery in 2020 February, Federer had another one six months later and went under the knife again in 2021 August. While Federer's big goal was to make one final return to tennis, it didn't happen and the Swiss tennis legend retired by playing one doubles match with Nadal at the Laver Cup. Federer was 40 at the time his career ended.

Berrettini, a 2021 Wimbledon finalist, was also a part of Federer's farewell as that year the Italian made his second appearance at the event. 

“When I was in London busy celebrating Roger Federer’s last match, he was crying because he was sad about leaving something that he loved so much, and was telling us: ‘You guys have no idea how lucky you are, that you can keep playing. I would give a lot to just be able to play one more match, have one more win, one more important tournament. So keep enjoying, keep striving, because this is the best sport ever and you’ve got to enjoy it,'" Berrettini told Esquire.

“And I think that's when I really understood the power of loving what you do. That it's in the bad moments and the good moments, it's just enjoying the ride - I’ve tried to do that since.”

Matteo Berrettini, Roger Federer and Team Europe
Matteo Berrettini, Roger Federer and Team Europe © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Why Federer's words were so important to Berrettini?

After a strong 2021 clay season, Berrettini - who was 25 at the time - started his grass season by winning the title at the Queen's Club. Then, Berrettini also made his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon - in which he was up by a set against Novak Djokovic before losing in four sets. 

While it was disappointing for Berrettini to lose the Wimbledon final, it meant extremely confident for the future. But then, constant injury and physical setbacks started for the Italian - who has battled numerous injuries over the last few years and on a couple of occasions was forced to miss extended time.

Just last year, Berrettini was out of action for two months during the spring. Also after concluding his 2023 season after the US Open, the 28-year-old Italian didn't play again this year's March.

Evidently, the last few years have been extremely tough and challenging for Berrettini. But Berrettini - now ranked at No. 95 in the world - refused to quit as he is still working hard and hoping he can return to his form from 2021. And certainly, Federer's words from the 2022 Laver Cup may have helped Berrettini during his rough times. 

Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney
 

Berrettini on how Federer helped him feel comfortable in his clothes

Since starting his career, Berrettini has spoken numerous times about how he used to look up to Federer. Now, Berrettini reveals he didn't only look up to Federer in tennis terms but he was also looking at the Swiss' style. That helped Berrettini feel confident to try some things and feel comfortable in his clothes while doing so.

I grew up watching Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal], and they were the guys that you had to watch. Everything they were doing reflected their personality. For example, The look Rafa was playing at the beginning was a sleeveless [top] and long shorts. It was like a bull got on the court, and his energy was all over the place. You could feel that this look fits him. If you put that look on anybody [else] on tour, that would have been a disaster," Berrettini explained.

"Or that year when Roger was stepping on court in Wimbledon in like a [military-style suit] jacket, basically a full white tuxedo. He was the only one that could do that, and he pulled it off. So I think looking at them, they made me understand that it's really important that you feel comfortable in your clothes and in your style when you're off and on court, because at the end of the day, you have to perform in it."

Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini © Getty Images Sport - Matt King
 

Meanwhile, Berrettini started his grass season at this week's tournament in Stuttgart, where he defeated Denis Shapovalov on Thursday to set up a quarterfinal versus James Duckworth.

Matteo Berrettini Roger Federer
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