Matteo Berrettini Opens Up On Struggles Of Being A Top 10 Player - UBITENNIS
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Matteo Berrettini Opens Up On Struggles Of Being A Top 10 Player

The world No.10 sheds light on how his rise in the sport has affected him both on and off the court.

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Being ranked among the best in the world is one of the ultimate goals for a tennis player but achieving such an accolade also has its drawbacks that few speak about.

 

Matteo Berrettini is Italy’s highest ranked player on the ATP Tour and has been continuously ranked in the world’s top 10 since his debut in October 2019. With a trio of Tour titles under his name the 24-year-old made headlines almost two years ago with his run to the semi-finals of the US Open in what remains his best Grand Slam performance to date. Since then he has not gone beyond the fourth round of a major.

Reflecting on his rise in the sport, Berrettini admits for the first time he has found it hard handling the pressure and expectation placed upon him after becoming a member of the top 10. Writing for Eurosport’s Players’ Voice, he says his rise in the sport has also had an impact on his personal life as well.

“I did not find it easy getting used to the sudden pressures of climbing the rankings so quickly. For me, I was tiptoeing, but suddenly felt like everyone was waiting for me to go faster. It is as if you have chosen a path, but that path suddenly becomes another. Imagine it this way: you are walking along a side road at your own pace, but it suddenly merges into a highway and everything travels so fast; you have to adapt immediately or otherwise you will be overtaken,” Berrettini wrote.
“When you get near the top, there is so much more you have to deal with, and not just tennis, but personal things too. Before, my life seemed much simpler; I go to the court, I play tennis, I think about winning. Today, there are so many more things to think about: managing expectations, those of others as well as my own, but also maintaining my relationships.”

This season Berrettini has experienced an encouraging start with wins over Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut at the ATP Cup. He also reached the quarter-finals of the Antalya Open and the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Elaborating further on his experience on the Tour, he admits that the mental side of the game has become more of a challenge for him in recent months. Berrettini has also endured his fair share of injury setbacks over the past month with the most recent being an abdominal strain he suffered during the Australian Open.

“The higher you go, the more complicated things get,” he said. “Because in addition to all of your worries about the technical and physical aspects of your game, which are fundamental, you have to also train the ‘boss’, as they say in Rome, the head.”

Regardless of the experiences, his dreams for the future remain the same. Winning the Italian Open, who was last won by a home player in 1976, as well as Grand Slam glory.

“Looking ahead on the court, I look forward to hopefully bringing happiness to fans, to feel that adrenaline once more of being able to excite and inspire people of all ages. With that extra incentive, I hope my results will speak for themselves,” Berrettini concluded.

Berrettini is the first Italian man in history to have won a match at the season-ending ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem back in 2019.

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Nikoloz Basilashvili survives scare in Sardinia

The third day of the Italian 250 event saw a trio of seeded players secure their places in the quarter-finals.

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A strong Mediterranean wind was not enough to blow away Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Sardegna Open as he came through a tense 3-setter against Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik.

 

The fourth seed’s typically aggressive style at times threatened to prove his undoing in Cagliari. A topsy-turvy encounter in blustery conditions was ultimately defined by the marathon tenth game in the deciding set, Kovalik missing five match points as his opponent’s serve just about held firm. Basilashvili then immediately broke himself, going on to complete a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, victory.

He will take on Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarter-finals. The fifth seed overpowered Britain’s Liam Broady 6-4 6-2, a much-improved performance from the German after his nervy first-round slugfest with Joao Sousa.

Qualifier Broady, whose strong start to the year has seen him reach a career-high ranking of 152, started well. He broke the fifth seed in the second game, but Struff was able to respond immediately before going on to take the first set 6-4. The Brit faded in the second set, Struff’s superior ranking showing as he overpowered his opponent with some brutal forehands and booming serves. If both men bring their best form, his match-up with Basilashvili on Friday should be an entertaining encounter.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1379725700949770242

Elsewhere, Aljaz Bedene defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 7-6(5). Fresh from an impressive win over Guido Pella in round one, qualifier Gerasimov would have had high hopes to progress further, facing an opponent ranked only 22 places higher. It looked good for the Belarussian as he edged a break ahead early on, but the ever-reliable Bedene reeled off three games in a row to take the first set. A similarly tight second set looked to be going Gerasimov’s way when he stormed to a 4-0 lead in the tie break, but Bedene once again took charge, winning 7 of the next 8 points to book a spot in the next round.

His opponent there will be second seed Taylor Fritz, who enjoyed a relatively easy ride in the final match of the day. He breezed through the opening set against Andrej Martin 6-2, looking strong in his first outing on clay in 2021. The players traded two breaks each in the second set before Fritz took the tie break 7-4. This week is the first tournament Fritz is playing as American No.1 after recently overtaking John Isner.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1379857536912924675

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Roger Federer Set To Start Clay Campaign In Madrid

The world No.7 will be back on the Tour shortly as he seeks his first title since the 2019 Swiss Indoors.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is set to return to competitive tennis later this month after being included in the entry list for a key Masters 1000 tournament.

 

The former world No.1 is currently down to play the Madrid Open which will start on April 30th and takes place over 10 days. Federer returned to the Tour at the Dubai Tennis Championships last month in what was his first tournament in over a year due to a knee injury which required two operations. In Dubai he reached the quarter-finals before losing to Nikoloz Basilashvili who went on to win the title.

Since then the Swiss maestro has returned to the practice courts to “work his way back out on tour,” according to his agent Tony Godsick. Federer has already confirmed that he will play on the clay this season but admits that it is because he has little choice. The 39-year-old has already stated that his goal is to be in top shape in time for the grass-court swing which starts after the French Open.

“What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts,” Federer told reporters on March 11th. “So I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches.
“The clay could be good or bad for me. I will only know in practice, but I don’t think it’s going to be bad. I assume I will play some clay.”

It isn’t the first time Federer has started his return to the clay in Madrid. In 2019 he played his first match on the surface in almost three years at the tournament after skipping the clay-court season the two previous years.

Also on the Madrid entry list is Federer’s rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who both missed the Miami Open. Dominic Thiem is also set to play in the tournament after he recently announced a delay to his return to professional tennis because he isn’t ready to compete yet.

The Madrid Open has been largely dominated by the Big Four (including Andy Murray) for more than a decade. Since 2008 only one player outside of the quartet has won the title which was Alexander Zverev back in 2018. Last year’s edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Rafael Nadal Will Be Ready For Start Of Clay Season, Says Doctor

A member of Nadal’s team has issued some encouraging news.

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Rafael Nadal (image via twitter.com)

It appears that Rafael Nadal’s recent woes are behind him as he looks to get back on track at next week’s Monte Carlo Masters.

 

The 34-year-old hasn’t played a tournament since his loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year. Throughout the first quarter of the season Nadal has been troubled by a back problem which he first picked up in Melbourne. The injury forced him to pull out of both the Rotterdam Open and Miami Masters. Overall, he has played just five matches so far in 2021.

Nadal will be looking to regain momentum on his beloved clay. A surface which he has won 60 ATP titles on, including a record 13 French Open trophies. According to his doctor, Ángel Ruiz-Cotorro, the world No.3 is ‘training well’ at present.

“He is training well, he is training hard. His goal is clay. First is Monte Carlo and his final goal is Roland Garros. It is clear,” Cotorro told RTVE.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will be seeking his 12th title in Monte Carlo in what is a tournament record. He has won three out of the four past editions with the only exception being Fabio Fognini who won the title in 2019. Last year’s tournament was axed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking further on in the calendar, Nadal is expected to play tournaments in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome before the French Open which is set to start in May. Although it is possible that his commitments could change. A member of the French government has also admitted that it is possible that Roland Garros could be delayed for a second year in a row due to the pandemic but no such change has been formally announced.

So far in his career Nadal has won 86 ATP titles and earned more then $123 million in prize money. He is only the fourth player in the Open Era to have won 1000 or more matches on the men’s Tour.

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