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Matteo Berrettini: Playing Style | Career Stats | Game Analysis | French Open 2021

Standing at an imposing height of 6’5”, Matteo Berrettini has been a revelation on the red dirt this season. The Italian has an impressive 13-3 win-loss record on clay in 2021. Matteo Berrettini clinched the ATP-250 Belgrade Open and finished as runner-up in the Mutua Madrid Open. 

The 25-year-old will lock horns against the top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the French Open 2021 on Wednesday. 

Matteo Berrettini: French Open 2021 journey so far

First Round: Overcame Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-0 6-4 4-6 6-4

Second Round: Comfortably beat Argentina’s Federico Coria 6-3 6-3 6-2

Third Round: Outlasted the South Korean Kwon Soon-woo 7-6(6) 6-3 6-4

Fourth Round: Got a walkover from the 8th seed Roger Federer who withdrew due to concerns with his knee

Matteo Berrettini: Game Analysis 

The right-hander uses his tall body frame to fire down big serves. No wonder, Matteo Berrettini has smashed 42 aces in just 3 matches at Roland Garros this year. The Italian is also known to approach the net fearlessly to finish off points.

His hard-hitting abilities have helped him to stay strong in the long rallies (9+ shots) on the red dirt. The 25-year-old can also put his opponents under pressure by hitting a series of winners from the baseline.

Matteo Berrettini’s biggest weakness is his inconsistent two-handed backhand. When opponents push deep returns into the corners on both sides of the court, the Next-Gen star can struggle a bit. His second serve also needs more attention as it can be off-colour in pressure situations. 

The major reason for Berrettini's success in the French Open has been to play first-strike tennis by winning a majority of points in rallies under 4 shots. He is unstoppable when he wins more than 80% of his first-serve points. 

What was the turning point in Matteo Berrettini’s career?

Ivan Ljubičić’s playing agency LJ Sports Group signed up Matteo Berrettini in December 2020. The former World number 3 who is the current coach of Roger Federer, has played a crucial role as mentor for Berrettini in the past 6 months. 

“Matteo Berrettini will break the world for the next five years, sky is the limit for him”, said Ljubičić in April this year. 

The Croatian said that the Italian is underestimated and can become a top player if he feels good physically. 

Matteo Berrettini also praised Ivan for backing him to make a strong comeback after suffering an abdominal injury ahead of the fourth round in the Australian Open 2021. The Italian missed 2 months of the season due to the niggle with his groin.

The 25-year-old will aim to retain his top-10 ranking and try to qualify for the prestigious ATP Finals (November 14 to November 21, 2021) to be held in Turin, Italy. 

“Winning the Belgrade title so soon after my comeback, and following it up by reaching the Madrid final, was a real confidence boost, my level is there and I hope to continue to improve and fight for a place in Turin, which, as an Italian, will be extremely special to be a part of,” said Matteo Berrettini highlighting his priorities for the 2021 tennis season. 

A look at how Matteo Berrettini has fared in the French Open over the years

Player NameMatteo Berrettini
2018Second Round - lost to the 7th seed 
Dominic Thiem in 4 sets
2019Second Round - was defeated by the 
unseeded Casper Ruud in straight sets
2020Third Round - lost to the unseeded 
Daniel Altmaier in straight sets
2021Faces the top seed Novak Djokovic 
in the quarterfinals (Results awaited)

Matteo Berrettini’s Win-Loss record against the top-10 players in his career

Player NameMatteo Berrettini
Novak Djokovic0-1
Daniil Medvedev0-2
Rafael Nadal0-1
Dominic Thiem3-2
Stefanos Tsitsipas 0-2
Alexander Zverev1-3
Andrey Rublev3-2
Roger Federer0-2
Diego Schwartzman1-1

Matteo Berrettini has a dismal 8-16 win-loss record against the top-10 ranked players on the ATP Tour. 

However, he has a favorable 3-2 head-to-head record each against fellow Next-Gen stars Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev. The Italian is yet to get a win against the Big 3 (Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic) having lost all 4 encounters. 

With 3 coaches, Marco Gulisano, Vincenzo Santoparde, and Umberto Rianna on his side along with Ljubičić’s mentorship, Berrettini will strive to improve his head-to-head record against the big players. 

How has Matteo Berrettini upped his game on clay in the past 1 year?

Player NameMatteo Berrettini
Win % on First Serve77.1% (greater than Nadal, 
Djokovic, Thiem, and Tsitsipas). 
% of Service Games Won87.1% (Third highest on the ATP Tour
 behind Roger Federer and John Isner). 
% of Deciding Sets Won63.2% (Higher than Federer, 
Medvedev, and Tsitsipas). 
Average number of 
double faults per match
1.4 (Second lowest on the ATP tour 
behind Daniel Elahi Galan’s record 
of an average 1 double fault per match)

What does the young star Jannik Sinner say about Matteo Berrettini? 

“Matteo Berrettini has had a fantastic season, we push each other, and this is very important, we are getting to know each other better, I hope that some Italian can play in the ATP Finals in Turin,” said Jannik Sinner praising Berrettini’s achievements and reflecting his optimism for the future of Italian tennis. 

What do legends like Boris Becker and Mats Wilander think about Matteo Berrettini?

“For me in the quarterfinals (Matteo Berrettini against Novak Djokovic), it is advantage Berrettini, he has an off day now and had long matches before, now he watched the match very closely and saw Djokovic is beatable,” said Boris Becker disclosing that Matteo Berrettini has a chance to defeat Djokovic. 

“Matteo Berrettini plays with controlled aggression just like Rafael Nadal and that is what makes him a dangerous player, he is exceptionally good mentally, has a wonderful backhand, his forehand is amazing, he does not go for complete winners, on top of it, he has an unbelievable attitude,” opined Mats Wilander in comparing Berrettini’s game to Rafa in the US Open 2019. 

What are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s views about Matteo Berrettini?

“Congratulations for your 2019 grass season, go on like this and you will go high, I am impressed by your improvement,” said Roger Federer in Wimbledon 2019 appreciating Berrettini after the Italian entered the top 10 of the ATP rankings from being earlier placed outside the top 50.

“I know him from the locker room, he was always very friendly to me, and hopefully, I was friendly with him, looks a nice guy, young with very good potential,” remarked Rafael Nadal in the US Open 2019 praising Berrettini’s amiable nature. 

What to expect from Matteo Berrettini in the future?

Italian tennis is at an exciting stage currently. With the experienced Fabio Fognini (34) almost at the last stage of his career, Matteo Berrettini will spearhead the fearless Next-Gen era from his nation. He will have solid support from his compatriots, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti.

So what are your views about Matteo Berrettini and how far can he go in the French Open 2021? Will he manage to clinch his first grand slam this year or will the wait continue? Do let us know in the comments below.

Featured Image Credits - Getty Images

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