Matteo Berrettini has never hidden the name of his sports idol in the world of tennis. It is Roger Federer, a player he rooted for until he began to attend the major circuit constantly. The Italian had the opportunity to face the Swiss legend on two occasions in 2019.
The first at Wimbledon and the second at the ATP Finals in London. After a massive loss on the lawns of the All England Club, Berrettini gladly accepted the defeat and joked with Federer during the handshake: “Thanks for the lesson, Roger!” In a long and interesting chat with Gianluca Gazzoli, creator of the BSMT format, the Italian recalled that match and the emotions he felt at the Laver Cup on the occasion of Federer’s retirement.
Berrettini and Roger Federer’s tearful speech
Berrettini told: “The first time I played against Federer at Wimbledon in 2019 I won five games. I just couldn’t get into the match mood. It was the fourth shift, I was loaded. I entered the field and said: It’s not true that I’m playing against him.
A few years earlier I was still rooting for him. It was a wonderful experience, which taught me a lot. It wasn’t easy at all. He played his last match at the Laver Cup last year and I was lucky and honored to be there. He cried and told us: You have no idea how lucky you are to be able to continue playing.
I’d give anything. Despite all the love people have for him, after a once-in-a-lifetime career, you could still see that desire to play and have fun in his eyes. It was a lesson that I will forever carry within. It’s been a really exciting four days.
Novak Djokovic? It’s hard to beat. He never said it, but he likes to play against me game-wise. In addition to being, together with Federer and Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest in the history of tennis, I am surprised by his desire to always get back there.
He won everything and it’s impressive how you always find that fire. The extra centimeter he manages to put on, that competitive spirit, is impressive. It’s the hallmark of all the great sportsmen.”