© Fotojump/Rio Open

Matteo Berrettini spends time with his family in Rio de Janeiro last year ahead of the Rio Open presented by Claro.

A Brother, Best Friend & Everything: Why Family Is Key For Berrettini

Matteo's brother, Jacopo, provides exclusive insight

When Matteo Berrettini and his brother, Jacopo Berrettini, were young, they grew up at a tennis club. Matteo, however, enjoyed multiple sports, including swimming, football and judo.

Jacopo, who is two-and-a-half years younger than his brother, missed having Matteo to play the sport with, so he got to work convincing him to focus on tennis.

“We started together, then he stopped a little bit and then he came back to play with me,” Jacopo told ATPTour.com. “I convinced him to play again. He tried other sports, but after that we started to play together and then we never stopped.

“We were so young, so probably my parents did a great job to convince him and me [to play tennis]. I think I gave to him the important energy and passion for tennis, to enjoy that. It’s something we could do together, so I think it’s funny. I think it’s better to do [something] together.”

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Years later, Matteo is one of the most recognisable stars in the sport and is featuring in the new Netflix tennis series, Break Point.

“It’s crazy. When he showed me the video [teaser], it was crazy. Every day I’m watching some series on Netflix, so I’m going to see him there on the TV or iPad, so it’s going to be so fun,” Jacopo said. “I think all the things that he’s doing now in his life, two, three years to now is crazy. It’s crazy to think, it’s crazy to understand. It’s something that five years ago nobody could say that.

“For us and for Matteo too I think it’s so nice to be part of this thing. It’s really fun and crazy for us.”

The 26-year-old Matteo has become one of the most dangerous players on the ATP Tour thanks to his powerful game, which has helped him claim seven tour-level titles and a trip to the Wimbledon final in 2021. But above all, Berrettini is a family man, who is dedicated to those around him.

“He is a very good person. He has unbelievable views of the importance of the family and the importance of the team, too. His team is like his second family. [The fans] are going to understand that a lot and they are going to love him more than now,” Jacopo said. “I think it’s really good for that, because I think now he has a lot of love from the fans and everyone, but after that they are going to learn a lot about Matteo and his personality and his values and everything. I think this is the most important thing.”

Jacopo, their father Luca and mother Claudia can often be seen at tournaments supporting Matteo. People might not realise that Jacopo is also a professional tennis player, who has cracked the Top 400 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings.

The brothers have competed alongside each other in doubles at two tour-level events, advancing to the semi-finals in Cagliari in 2021. Jacopo noted the importance of their family bond.

“I think we are so lucky because our parents and our grandparents are unbelievable for us. I think they did something that is not easy to do, because I saw a lot of families and a lot of situations that are not easy to do for the parents,” Jacopo said. “With two guys that are doing the same job, it’s not easy to give the same energy and the same attention to both of us. They did unbelievable work.

“They know how to give us love, energy and passion. Every time I say that because it’s true. We are so lucky and for us it’s so important to have them, to have our grandparents. It’s something that is really important for us. It’s the priority in our life. We have tennis, we have our job, but then [family is] our base. It’s so good.”

Matteo is also loyal to his tennis team, which have become like family. Vincenzo Santopadre began working with the brothers when Matteo was 14 and Jacopo was 12 and is still Matteo’s coach today.

Berrettini, who has reached a career-high World No. 6, continues to help his brother pursue his own dreams.

“He’s really important in my life, in tennis and normal life. But in tennis he’s… supporting me every time. He gives me this chance to enjoy his team [since] two years ago. Now we have one big team to share, so he made this support to me too,” Jacopo said. “Every time he’s there. I know that he’s there.

“He’s my brother, he’s my best friend, he’s everything for me. He’s the most important person in my life, so without him probably nothing of that is possible to happen. I learned every time from him and it’s really nice to have him [on my side].”