After qualifying for his first ATP main-draw appearance, Jacopo Berrettini will make his singles tour-level debut on Tuesday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. The family-oriented Italian made his breakthrough during a very fitting week, with older brother Matteo Berrettini also competing at the Acapulco event.
The younger Berrettini had not won a set in his four previous ATP Tour qualifying attempts, and he lost a 6-0 opening set against France's Geoffrey Blancaneaux to begin his campaign this week. But the 24-year-old found a new gear to battle back in that match and then defeat fellow Italian Luciano Darderi, sealing his milestone achievement as his brother watched from the stands.
"On Sunday when I finished my match, I couldn't believe it," Jacopo told ATPTour.com. "Last night too, I didn't sleep very well, but it was probably the best night of my life."
He enjoyed a beachside celebration with his brother and their shared team at the tournament's player party, but now is fully focussed on extending his run. After notching one win in two Portuguese ITF events earlier this month, Berrettini is settling into a new groove, leaning on his fighting spirit.
"I came here with not good vibes," said Jacopo, who hit a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 388 in 2019. "But I was trying from the first match to fight a lot and I think I did it. My team, my family helped me a lot. For me it's really important to have them here."
When Jacopo travels with Matteo, the two share coaches and often practise together, as they have this week. Jacopo also benefits from using his brother's trainer and physio. But the biggest plus is the presence of Matteo, whom he calls his best friend. This week, they are also staying in the same house.
"Without him [none of this] would be possible" Jacopo said of Matteo. "Not just for the [qualifying] wild card but for everything. He is my inspiration, he's really a true champion and really a very good person. For me he's the most important person in my life. I really want to say thanks to him. It's really nice to have him here and in general in my life."
Jacopo will also lean on his brother for a scouting report of his first-round opponent, Oscar Otte. Matteo has beaten the German in all three of their ATP Head2Head meetings.
The former World No. 6 owes Jacopo a debt of gratitude, too. When Matteo stopped playing tennis for a year around age 7, it was his brother who got him back into the game.
"We were having fun," Jacopo said of their childhood tennis days. "We had the dream [of becoming professionals], but just that. Not a goal, but a dream. And this now for us is still a dream. It's something that is crazy. Tomorrow we are going to play on the same day at one tournament. It's so big. It's still a dream."
Did You Know?
While Matteo stars in Netflix's Break Point, the Italian's family also appears in the tennis documentary. Jacopo is a big fan of the show.
"It was something strange to see Matteo there, my family there on the big screen," he said. "For Matteo it's normal, but for me and my parents it's not usual. It's really fun to see them, to see my grandparents like they are talking with us without a camera
"I really enjoyed the show and I think it's very good for tennis in general, to know the tennis life."