I would have signed with my blood for this Wimbledon run – Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini would have “signed with my blood” to have the Wimbledon run he is putting together.
The 2021 finalist has been struggling with a recurring abdominal problem that forced him to miss the defence of his Queen’s Club title but is through to the fourth round after convincing victories over Alex De Minaur and Alexander Zverev.
Berrettini, who was forced out of Wimbledon last year by Covid, said on court after his third-round victory that he had spent many days crying in his bed as he fought to get healthy again.
“If they told me a few weeks ago you’re going to play five days in a row in Wimbledon, I would have signed with my blood,” the Italian said later.
“I really spent days in bed thinking about the tournaments that I missed, the injuries that I had, sadness that I was feeling. I was like, ‘I have to come back and feel alive when I play’.
“That’s the energy I have right now. It doesn’t matter how tired I am. In the morning, go there, enjoy. I find that extra energy that maybe a few years ago I took for granted.”
Berrettini is unseeded with his ranking having dropped to 38 and he revealed he arrived in London with serious fears he may have to miss Wimbledon for a second year in a row.
“I wasn’t sure even if I was going to play,” he said. “I flew here and I said maybe the atmosphere is going to help me a little bit.
“I was really not sure about it. Not because I didn’t want to. In order to play a slam, you have to be ready physically, emotionally, mentally. There are many things.
“The will is not enough. But then I have to say I did a great job with my team. We worked really hard. They let me decide. A few days before, I thought, ‘I’m not ready’.
“But then I missed too many events in the last years. I couldn’t leave this place without trying. That’s what I said to myself. I think this place has something special. I feel a kind of energy I don’t feel anywhere else.”
Berrettini is one of the best grass-court players in the draw and he will next try to upset top seed Carlos Alcaraz, who is yet to go beyond the fourth round at the All England Club.
The Italian, who beat Alcaraz over five sets at the Australian Open last year, is looking forward to the challenge, saying: “In a way it’s what you want, right? You want to play against the best players in the world.
“Playing against Carlos, it’s always been a pleasure, a great fight. He’s the best player in the world. It’s going to be a great challenge. But I’m so glad that I have this opportunity right now.
“I remember watching him play at Roland Garros from my TV. Now it’s going to be me against him. I’m really happy for that. I think this is going to help me to go there and enjoy and find that extra energy that I was talking about.”
Zverev certainly would not be surprised to see Berrettini come out on top, with the German saying: “I told him that he can win the tournament if he plays like this.
“Of course there are other players that are great. He’s playing Alcaraz next. I think he’s a great player as well. But, if he plays like this, he has chances against anybody.”