Rising Italian star Matteo Berrettini admits he didn't expect to make a deep run at the US Open as he entered the tournament injured and low on confidence. Berrettini, 23, made his maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Flushing Meadows before losing to 18-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
After clinching a tight opening set, No. 2 seed Nadal took full control of the match as he claimed a 7-6 (6) 6-4 6-1 win over world No. 25 Berrettini. "I'm still learning tennis. It's really weird. I was coming here with not a lot of confidence.
I was injured. I didn't play a good match in Cincinnati. Didn't expect to do such a great tournament," Berrettini said after the match, per the AFP. "I'm learning to be ready. Every match is important. Every point is important.
This one for sure. Then all the matches, you have to be focus and ready to get the chances that you're making. "I think when I have the right attitude on the court, I can play with any guys. If I'm focusing, if I'm playing my tennis, I can be really dangerous.
That's really important to have this confidence." This past Wimbledon, Berrettini won just five games throughout his round-of-16 clash against record 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Despite failing to beat either Nadal or Federer, Berrettini says those were valuable lessons from which he will learn and benefit going forward.
"Last time I played one of the Big Three it didn't go like that well," Berrettini recalled. "The feelings I had on court for sure was unbelievable experience. I didn't have so many chances. I think I learned a lot from the match in Wimbledon.
"I was more ready. I was feeling also that the next time I'm going to play Rafa, I'll be more ready because I didn't ever play him even on practice. "I didn't know what expect a lot. I think this match will help me a lot to improve my tennis, my everything, and for sure be ready for him the next time."