Berrettini Departs US Open With Lessons Learned
When he faced Roger Federer two months ago at Wimbledon, Berrettini admitted feeling ill-equipped to face a member of the Big 3. He even joked at the net with Federer about receiving a "tennis lesson" after falling to the Swiss in just 74 minutes. On Friday, he gave Rafael Nadal all he could handle for the majority of their semi-final encounter that marked Berrettini’s best Grand Slam showing.
"The last time I played one of the Big 3, it didn't go that well. The feelings I had on court for sure was [an] unbelievable experience. I didn't have so many chances. I think I learned a lot from the match in Wimbledon,” Berrettini said. “I was more ready [today]… I think this match will help me a lot to improve my tennis, my everything, and for sure be ready for [Nadal] the next time.
“I was coming here with not a lot of confidence. I was injured. I didn't play a good match in Cincinnati. Didn't expect to do such a great tournament.”
The 23-year-old created yet another milestone moment in what has been a banner year. Berrettini’s quarter-final victory over Gael Monfils, which ended in a fifth-set tiebreak, kept him undefeated in five-setters (3-0) and is considered by many fans to be the match of the tournament so far.
The Italian’s run wasn’t completely out of left field, though. Berrettini quietly built up to it with titles this year in Budapest (d. Krajinovic) and Stuttgart (d. Auger-Aliassime), in addition to a runner-up showing in Munich (l. to Garin) and reaching the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time at Wimbledon. He also scored his first Top 10 wins over Karen Khachanov (twice) and Alexander Zverev.
Berrettini was outside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings at the start of the year, but is projected to jump inside the Top 15 for the first time when the newest standings are released on Monday. He’s also put himself in contention for a debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. Berrettini will jump to ninth place in the ATP Race to London (2,160 points), trailing eighth-placed Kei Nishikori by a mere 20 points.
But while he admitted appearing at The O2 was “crazy to think about,” he’s staying in the moment. Berrettini will compete next at the St. Petersburg Open before heading to Asia for the China Open and Rolex Shanghai Masters. Having a Grand Slam semi-final under his belt has given him the belief that he can defeat anyone at his remaining ATP Tour events this season.
“I'm learning to be ready. Every match is important. Every point is important. Then all the matches, you have to be focussed and ready to get the chances that you're making,” Berrettini said. “I think when I have the right attitude on the court, I can play with any guys. If I'm focussing, if I'm playing my tennis, I can be really dangerous. It's really important to have this confidence.”