Matteo Berrettini

Matteo Berrettini, from Rome, the best young Italian tennis player, came to a career-high ranking at number 20 ATP in June 2019, before the “Championships” in Wimbledon, after winning his third title in Stuttgart. Speaking to him in March 2018, in Indian Wells, Matteo, then out of the top-100 ATP, told that “one day I would love to be one of those players who get stopped by screaming fans to get selfies and autographs”. Fifteen months later, the Italian has definitely reached that status, and his future looks bright. Berrettini has everything to stay among the best in our sport: he’s a great athlete, and his game is perfect for competing in modern tennis. Matteo’s best shot is definitely the serve. We are talking about a top-tier cannonball, over 220 kmh, often unreturnable for the opponent. To back that big serve, and quickly finish the points when the ball returns in his side of the court, the Italian can rely on his second big weapon, the forehand. It’s a flawless execution, in open stance, with heavy top-spin, and a great use of the inside-out and inside-in trajectories from the left side of the court, as well as the classic cross-court rallying from the deuce side. Overall, the serve and forehand combination of Berrettini reminds a little of Andy Roddick’s. On the backhand side, Matteo has improved enormously compared to his junior years. Now the two-handed shot is very solid on the cross-court hitting, and when the opponent leaves enough space to take the risk, the down-the-line winners get Berrettini a lot of points. On top of that, the Italian has one of the best backhand slices around, extremely dangerous especially on fast courts. The net game in general and the volleys in particular are very good, but the thing that Matteo does best when attacking and putting the opponent out of balance is the drop-shot. It’s quite rare to see modern players successfully hit drop-shot winners ten, fifteen times every match, but Berrettini is able to do that routinely and consistently. Overall, Matteo Berrettini is a great example of a modern heavy-hitter and shot-maker, blessed with an extraordinary talent. One of the most difficult tasks in tennis is blasting serves and forehands at full power, and then suddenly be able to just caress the ball or change its spin. For the opponents, sometimes it’s literally impossible to guess what kind of shot they will be facing. For Matteo, this variety of tactical options means the possibility to adapt very well to different playing conditions and surfaces: two ATP titles on clay and one on grass are the result so far. And our Lotto boy with a big smile and an even bigger serve is just getting started.