Matteo Berrettini defeated Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon semifinal on Friday to reach his maiden Grand Slam final. With the victory, Berrettini has become the first Italian player in history to make it to the championship match at SW19.
The 25-year-old, who also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros a few weeks ago, dominated with his serve and forehand early on Friday to go up two sets to love. Hurkacz was able to regroup and steal a third set tie-breaker, but Berrettini soon made amends by breaking in the first game of the fourth set.
During the on-court interview after his 6-3, 6-0, 6-7, 6-4 win, the Italian initially looked overwhelmed by the magnitude of his feat. But he was eventually able to catch his breath, at which point he thanked his camp.
“I have no words, really. I need a couple of hours to understand what happened,” Berrettini said. “I played a great match. My family is there, my team. I never dreamt about this because it was too much.”
Berrettini added that he was in the zone for the entirety of the contest, even though he dropped the third set.
“When you play at this level, you try to be at your best at everything – mental, physical, tennis,” the Italian said. “I felt that I deserved to win the third set, I lost it and said to myself, ‘It doesn’t matter’. I was feeling the better player and that was what I told to myself. It worked.”
“I remember the first time I stepped on this court, playing Roger Federer here 2 years ago” – Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini was also probed about whether he was excited at the prospect of joining the winners’ circle at SW19 on Sunday. The Italian replied that he couldn’t stop thinking about it, before admitting how his match against Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2019 prepared him for the big occasion on Friday.
Berrettini couldn’t put up much resistance that day against Federer, who routed him for the loss in just five games in their Round of 16 encounter. But the 25-year-old learned a lot from the match, despite what the scoreline says.
“I remember the first time I stepped on this court, playing Roger here two years ago,” Berrettini said. “Have to say, it wasn’t really a great performance but he’s just a great legend.”
“I enjoyed even though I lost,” the Italian added. “That experience helped me a lot today and I’m grateful for everything that is happening.”
Matteo Berrettini will face Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday, bidding to become the first Italian male player to lift a Grand Slam trophy since Adriano Panatta at Roland Garros 1976.