Sometimes it takes some time earlier than the dimensions of an achievement resembling reaching the ultimate of Wimbledon for the primary time sinks in. For Matteo Berrettini it got here inside a couple of hours. Having attended the Euro 2020 ultimate and seen Italy defeat England on penalties, Berrettini joined the crew on the pitch for the celebrations. They advised him that they had been glued to the tv earlier within the day, keen him on in opposition to his opponent, Novak Djokovic.
“After they received I went to congratulate them they usually have been like: ‘We should always have napped however we couldn’t since you have been taking part in; we couldn’t relaxation,’” says a beaming Berrettini. “They usually have been actually pumped, they have been actually joyful for what I’d accomplished, what I achieved. A few of them are nonetheless texting me. We’re nonetheless in contact. It was simply the whole lot collectively, it was particular.
“I bear in mind the primary press convention at Queen’s final 12 months, they stated: ‘There are going to be two finals on 11 July. What if it’s going to be Italy and also you?’ And I used to be like: ‘Yeah, proper, guys, there’s no probability,’ not only for me but in addition for them. I don’t know the percentages of that. It occurred and that’s why I feel it was so particular.”
The next day was much more unreal for Berrettini. The primary Italian man to achieve the ultimate of the boys’s singles at Wimbledon, he was invited on the victory parade in Rome along with the soccer crew – an excellent larger recognition of what he had achieved. “Even folks that didn’t learn about tennis, if you happen to inform them ‘Wimbledon’, they’re going to know what it’s,” he says.
“It’s so particular. That’s why it was so massive final 12 months, as a result of individuals stopped me within the streets and advised me: ‘The final time I watched a tennis match was 20 years in the past, 30 years in the past. And also you made me watch the finals.’
“It’s unbelievable that it was me that was taking part in. After which it makes me really feel actually proud as a result of I used to be on in all probability the most important stage on a tennis court docket. I used to be one of many primary characters. That’s why it was so massive. And in Italy it was even greater.”
Berrettini is now a person in demand. Ludicrously good-looking, the 26-year-old has been inundated with new sponsors and requests on his time. A giant server with an enormous forehand, within the 12 months that has handed since his run to the ultimate at SW19 he has added consistency on the prime stage to his apparent expertise. He was a quarter-finalist on the US Open in 2021 and reached the semi-finals at this 12 months’s Australian Open in January, solely to lose to Rafael Nadal, who went on to win the title.
In March he pulled out of Miami with an issue along with his proper hand that required surgical procedure. Resisting the urge to return again too quickly, he missed the clay-court season and returned to motion in Stuttgart solely this month.
It proved to be a clever resolution as he beat Andy Murray to win the title after which adopted up by successful Queen’s once more, repeating his double from final 12 months.
Twelve months in the past he felt good however didn’t imagine he may win Wimbledon. Issues have modified. “I’d say that I’m a greater participant as a result of I improved some issues on my recreation and mentally, the expertise of final 12 months, it’s been serving to me since then, and now [also] a 12 months extra on grass,” he says.
“Final 12 months I got here right here successful Queen’s and so I used to be feeling numerous confidence however I wasn’t like, OK, I’m going to get to the finals. This 12 months I really feel like I can do it once more.
“It’s a unique form of strain however on the identical time it comes as a result of I really feel it, as a result of [of] the outcomes that I’ve accomplished, due to what I really feel inside, in order that feels good.”
Berrettini is one in all many gamers who might be severely affected by the ATP’s resolution to strip Wimbledon of rating factors, a response to the All England’s Membership’s ban on Russian and Belarusian gamers after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s a resolution he doesn’t like however it doesn’t have an effect on his love of the place, nor has it stopped him from fascinated with what it could be wish to win the boys’s singles title.
There’s one thing particular [about it], I can’t even let you know or clarify to you why or what it’s,” he says. “But it surely simply feels very nice. To win it, I don’t even know.
“It sounds loopy however on the identical time I do know I can do it. It will imply rather a lot and it could imply for positive the best second of my profession and my life.
“Contemplating that final 12 months I misplaced within the ultimate and my life fully modified, it could be much more. But it surely’s good to suppose that I’m nonetheless the identical child that was dreaming about taking part in tennis, dreaming about taking part in this match, not even successful it.
“It will be a life change for positive and particularly after what I skilled within the final months, it could be rather a lot.”