“I didn’t feel well mentally, the tennis was there”

Despite some difficulties, Matteo Berrettini reached the quarter-finals for the second year in a row, defeating Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in five sets, 3-6 7-6 (2) 6-3 4-6 6-2 (here the log). The slow start of the Romanian player, which can be better explained by some physical ailments, was purely mental,”I didn’t feel mentally better at first. My tennis was there, but I wasn’t too busy with the game and I was able to change that.”.

Moderator: Five sets, 3 hours and 45 minutes. Tell us about your performance.
Matteo Berrettini: Yes, a really tough match. I was one group and one collapse, and I think he was playing at a really good level. I didn’t feel bad, it was just that he was playing better than me. I kept believing in my game, in my strokes. I managed to get the second set in the tiebreak, and I think that was the key to the match. Two sets on zero were more difficult. Then it was a struggle, ups and downs. Lots of humidity today. He was sweating a lot. But I’m really happy, because in the fifth set I felt good. The energy was good. Unfortunately, I think he got a little injured and that’s not what you want to end your game. But I was already done, so I felt the momentum shift in my favor.

Q: You will now be facing Rod, who you played five matches with. What will be the key to the match against him?
Matteo Berrettini: We have a similar game. We like to play, we like to run around our forehands, to give the ball a lot of impact, to be aggressive. I think the key is how to be more aggressive than him (smiling). I’ll try to get him to run and not run too much. Yes, I think the key is to be aggressive, use my guns, serve, and clearly have my right. We have been playing for about a month. She was clearly on the mud, completely different. We always have tough matches. did we meet before. I am sure it will be a great match.

Q: What will you bring from today’s match to the next? What things will you improve?
Matteo Berrettini: I’ll take a lot of things. I think I was really good mentally, because I didn’t feel so good mentally at first. My tennis was there, but I wasn’t really into the game and I was able to change that. It is important that you can do this during the game as learning and processing what is happening, then understanding and improving. This is one thing for sure. Physically I once again proved that I’m good in the top five, I felt good, I was ready to fight in tough conditions. The important thing is to play well in the important moments. That’s what I did today. Of course I know I have to play at a really high level against Casper, but I feel ready for that.

Q: You mentioned how difficult the conditions are, the humidity. There was also enough sunshine there.
Matteo Berrettini: At first, no. At first it was more cloudy. That’s why it was so humid. Then when the sun went down, I think the humidity was lower, but the temperature obviously went up. It was like going back and forth with clouds and things like that.

Q: Have you ever turned your hat when the sun rose?
Matteo Berrettini: No, I don’t like playing with my hats. The sun did not bother me. It was actually good. The moisture was more noticeable, and at times, my shorts were wet with sweat, so sometimes it was hard to move them. It felt stiffer and heavier.

Q: Do you like the electronic communication system or do you lack the human factor?
Matteo Berrettini: You know, at first I was like, “Oh, I don’t know if I liked it.” But I think it is now. Now there can be no misunderstanding or anything. I feel the car. If he’s outside, he’ll be outside. Actually I was in Turin last year, the only game I played unfortunately, I had a point, Sasha Zverev sent, and I didn’t call the Falcon because I thought it was good, then my box told me to call but I didn’t understand. He was actually out of his service. As you know, in this case it would not have happened. I think it is better this way. This obviously spoils the life of the line stewards a bit, less work… but I think it’s better for the sport.

Q: Thinking about the turf season when you were obviously doing well, and then got sick with the COVID virus, you had to retire. I think it was a really tough time for you. I was just wondering, at the time I don’t think there was a hard and fast rule that required you to retire, as such. I just wonder how bad I felt? Did you feel it was the right thing to do? Having said that, how motivated are you now to get another chance here?

Matteo Berrettini: I was sick. I already had a high fever. I felt like all my bones were broken (smiles). And yes, I did the test, because I thought it was the right thing to do, because I have symptoms. I am very sensitive to COVID. I had friends, luckily I didn’t lose anyone to COVID, thank God for that, but I have people who lost people to COVID. I am very sensitive to this and have learned that by taking the test if you are positive you are out. It was really difficult. I think even if I hadn’t auditioned I would have done really well for retirement because it took me three weeks to get into shape and I don’t know what would have happened if I had played and I could have probably gotten more goofs and stuff. I think I did the right thing. Now it is clear that I have more motivation. I feel like this year has been tough, surgery, COVID. But here I am again healthy, and I can’t wait to play the quarter-finals.

Previous Perrettini Road 2-3
July 2022, Gstaad, Final, (1) Casper Ruud B. (2) Peretini 4-6 7-6 (4) 6-2
May 2021, Madrid Masters, Clay, SF, (8) Berrettini B. Casper Rod 6-4 6-4
Sep 2020, Roma Masters, Clay, QF, Casper Road B. (4) Caps 4-6 6-3 7-6 (5)
August 2020, US Open, Tough, 3rd round, (6) Brittney B. (30) Casper Rod 6-4 6-4 6-2
May 2019, Roland Garros, clay, second round, Casper Rod B. (29) Brittney 6-4 7-5 6-3