«Tennis and fame sometimes empty me. Roland Garros? Difficult to return »- Corriere.it

from gaia piccardi

The Barça tennis player stopped due to an injury: «What a blow skipping Rome, now I’m not going to rush the times. But I’ll get it all back with interest.” On the big three: “Playing with them is still the biggest challenge in tennis”

MILAN We had not seen him on the pitch since the second day of Indian Wells, on March 16, a three-set loss to Kecmanovic, a match in which the problem appeared in the finger of his right hand that later forced him to undergo surgery. obvious. In the social networks of the very painful resignation of the backhoe in the red, Montecarlo-Madrid-Rome, which would have taken him by carriage to Paris (at this point more than at risk). Here it is again Matthew Berrettini, 26 years in captivity and not with the racket in hand as nature creates, a caged lion forced to stop at the moment of the best classification (#6), for an afternoon in Milan at the home of sponsor Red Toro for update and talk about everything (except privacy, well, and the Wimbledon ban on Russians and Belarusians: this is a wasted opportunity because a top 10 opinion is expected and because Matteo definitely has an intelligent point of view). view in mind). For the rest, thoughts and words.

the injury

“The finger, for the first time, bothered me in Indian Wells. No bumps, no trauma. It looked like inflammation, but instead it turned out to be a rare injury: the small particle in the hand that holds the tendon in place was injured. Especially when he was playing the backhand, bad dog, the tendon came out and came back in his way, dislocating. Before Miami I had to stop, we considered that the operation was necessary. Now I’m better, I moved my hand again (on the finger, now, there is only a Band-Aid, educate), unfortunately not yet to play tennis.


“Paris, right now, is more of a no than a yes. I haven’t made an official decision yet, but I certainly won’t rush the times or take senseless risks. When I return it will be because I am convinced that I can reach the end of the tournament. Otherwise, I jump all over the dirt and go straight to the grass.”

congenital frailty

“I have done many studies and tests to trace the origin of the injuries that are repeated in my career. Finger aside, I’ve never had any problems with my abs, last year I broke down in Australia thanks to the pandemic and quarantine, obviously I went out on the court without proper training. The problem is that I have a scar there and, when I am stressed, that area suffers. We notice that the left side of my abdomen, thanks to the forehand and the serving rotations, is more developed than the right. I am trying to strengthen my muscles but not everything can be foreseen, things happen. In any case, I will never be a player of 35 tournaments a year.

Injuries and losses that help you grow

Better to win and feel good. But some losses are more important than some victories. I try to learn from everything, on my way I realized that there have been some Kappaos that have made me want revenge. Ultimately, if taken in the right way, obstacles serve to grow and come back stronger.

The generation of immortals

“I feel lucky to be a part of this. Twenty years of dominance by Djokovic, Federer and Nadal means knowing how to manage tension, manage talent, face opponents of various ages, me among them. Before I lived them as a fan, on TV; now I challenge them on the pitch. I lost the last Wimbledon final with Djokovic, the last Grand Slam semi-final with Nadal. Facing these names in 2022 remains the biggest challenge in tennis. The top 10 may have a little more, but the average level of the game has grown a lot: no match is decided earlier and no result is lost. And the youngsters don’t look: Alcaraz, Sinner, they’re coming strong, we’ll have to do more and more to beat them. But I consider myself lucky: I am living through one of the best times in tennis and I will carry it within me forever.

The generation of 76

«The one of 76 is a mythical generation, the conquest of the Davis Cup by Panatta, Bertolucci, Barazzutti and Zugarelli, with Captain Pietrangeli, has been turned into a television series. I hope that our moment in Davis returns soon, we have a very strong team, it is true that since ’76 the Davis format has changed but Italy has proven to be up to the task, me and Jannik Sinner in singles, Fognini and Bolelli in doubles we can affirm ourselves. The last Davis was won by Russia, which does not have the strongest double in the world. Our turn will also come. In the meantime, I gladly take on the responsibility of bringing young people closer to tennis.”

how important is the head

«A lot, everything. I’ve been very mental since I was a kid, I like to get into things, focus on them. In tennis I win points thanks to my best weapons, serve and straight, but it all starts with the head: If it is not well attached to the body, the blows are not enough. I have been working with a mental coach since I was 17: it is a way of getting to know myself better, of understanding how I react in certain situations. Knowing myself takes some pressure off me and allows me to focus on my tennis.”

San Remo and popularity

“I never expected popularity at first. I didn’t start playing tennis to be famous. The notoriety came with the results, the time on television in Sanremo made me visible to everyone, I am happy to be recognized even when doing the little things, like having a coffee, becomes difficult. I try to handle fame with the weapons my parents gave me: education and courtesy. I tend to be private and reserved, to be on my own. Of course I recognize that life has changed, shooting in certain places has become complicated, let’s say that the anti-Covid masks help to go a little unnoticed…! Sometimes I feel a bit swallowed up by what is going on around me. The other day I was telling a friend of mine that I feel that there are many people who love me, I feel obliged to give something back but sometimes I find myself destroyed, emptied, unable to do even half of what I had. I set my sights.”

Example for the young

“It is an honor and a pleasure. I used to play soccer in the courtyard of my apartment building in Nuovo Salario, in Rome: if today the children in the courtyard play tennis thanks to me, to us, I am happy. Children write to me, being one of the drivers of change is wonderful.

tennis as work

“There are things that I would gladly avoid – appointments with lawyers, hard training, physical therapy to recover from injuries – but I have never experienced tennis as a job. I feel that I am doing what I like to do, traveling does not weigh me down, I am sure that the people next to me are proud. Sometimes, well, I feel that certain personal relationships could be deeper, technology helps me stay in touch with friends and family but when my grandmother calls me crying because she misses me, I feel bad ».

The attraction to real life (outside of tennis)

“I have been chasing a goal all my life: a tournament, the ranking, the Grand Slam, Davis. Before, I lived real life outside the bubble of professional tennis as a gift to myself, like: after so many sacrifices, I give myself a night out with friends. Now I think that a bit of partying from time to time helps to recharge the batteries, it’s good for me. My mental coach explained it to me: I have to be happy in general, not just on the court when I play tennis. When I tend to recognize myself only as a high-ranking tennis player, I stop and ask myself: but you, Matteo, how much are you worth without tennis? I am a person, before being number 6 in the ranking. I have one certainty: I will leave tennis when the attraction to real life takes me elsewhere. I will not continue by inertia, dragging myself. Absolutely not”.

What’s left of this 2022

«It had started well, with the semifinal at the Australian Open. Then stop. I want to think that this forced break will give me freshness and clarity for the rest of the season. As soon as I get back, I’ll push hard. I would like to go and play where I have never been, Toronto and Montreal, for example, I would like to do a good tour in the United States and close with a high-level US Open. Mentally, this is not a very easy time. The biggest blow to morale was when I announced that I would skip Roma: I already knew that, but making it official hurt. Rome, here: since I’ve been top 10 I haven’t been able to play in the Forum as I would like, in a “normal” way, first the pandemic, now the injury. But I’ll make it up, I’ll get it all back with interest. I will be able to transform the energy into competitive rage. And I’ll be back. Yes, I’ll be back.”

April 29, 2022 (change May 2, 2022 | 12:03 pm)

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