By Sudipto Ganguly
(Reuters) – Matteo Berrettini learned some harsh lessons during his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on Sunday but is sure he can grow from the experience and return to lift the trophy.
Although world number one Djokovic was the overwhelming favourite to win the title, an upset victory for the 25-year-old Berrettini had not been completely ruled out by pundits.
After all, with his booming serves and crushing forehands, the Italian came into the showpiece match on Centre Court having won the Wimbledon lead-up event at Queen’s.
But, despite Djokovic losing the opening set on a tiebreak, Berrettini nearly always looked second-best in the match.
“Obviously now I’m disappointed,” the seventh seed, who was bidding to become the first Italian to win the Wimbledon singles title, told reporters.
“I’m pissed because I lost, because I think I didn’t play my best match. But I have to say it’s thanks to Novak in a way that he… made me play in this way. That’s his strength probably. That’s why he’s one of the best.”
Berrettini was, however, keen to see the positives in his strong run on grass this season and was confident he would return to claim the title at the All England Club.
“I know that I can win this title. I’m not sure if I’m going to do it, but I know I can do it,” Berrettini said. “So that’s what I’m going to do in the next weeks, in the next months and years: try to lift the trophy.”
Berrettini was beaten by Rafa Nadal in his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the 2019 U.S. Open and also lost to Djokovic in the French Open quarter-finals last month.
He said Djokovic was the toughest player to beat currently.
“Probably it would mean even more if you’re able to win against Novak in the finals,” he said. “The most important thing for me is that right now I’m losing… against the best players in the world.
“It means that my level is growing. It means my weapons and my tennis in general is growing. That’s the right path. That’s the right thing that I’m doing.
“In order to win against him, I have to improve more. Like he said, he was losing against Rafa and Roger (Federer), and thanks to them he improved. That’s what I’ll try to do.
“Thanks to him, I’m going to try to get better.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Ken Ferris)