Matteo Berrettini was one of the most impressive protagonists of the 2019 season. He is the first Italian to reach the US Open semifinals in 42 years and was the fourth Italian ever to break into the Top 10 - second in the last four decades, after Fabio Fognini.
Despite his impressive achievements, it seems like 24-year-old Berrettini still hasn’t gotten used to the fact that competing at the highest levels conveys interacting with players who have been high-ranked on the Tour for a long time already - players he used to look up to before his professional career even started.
“Before Wimbledon I played Stuttgart and Halle. I won Stuttgart whose defending champions was [Roger] Federer,” the Italian told Stats Perform. “In Halle I met him and he complimented me. Before we only exchanged some hellos but to be complimented by him still gives me goosebumps.
We didn’t speak during Wimbledon because we were in the same half of the draw, so no tips. But then he told me: ‘Congratulations for your grass season. Go on like this and you will go high.’ Then we met again in London for the ATP Finals.
He was very kind because we chatted during the famous boat trip from the hotel to the arena. We chatted about the holidays and his plans. The relationship with all of them [the players who have been on the Tour for a long time] is so weird. I grew up looking up to them, you know. But the relationship is good, they are special”.