‘Novak Djokovic was relaxed, while I could not eat,’ says Matteo Berrettini

Playing the first Major final is never easy, especially if you meet the 19-time Major winner at sacred Wimbledon court. Matteo Berrettini experienced that this July against Novak Djokovic, doing his best to challenge the most formidable rival before falling 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to finish runner-up. Speaking about the match, Berrettini said he could not eat anything as the encounter had gotten closer, while Djokovic felt relaxed in the locker room next to him. Using his vast experience, Novak stayed calm after the opening set and held everything under control from set number two to seal the deal and celebrate the 20th Major title. The Serb got broken twice while he was already in front and stole 40% of the return points to turn them into six breaks from 15 chances. Djokovic had 31 winners and 21 unforced errors and played better when it mattered the most to secure the sixth Wimbledon crown and the third in a row.

Matteo Berrettini shared thoughts about his preparation for the Wimbledon final.

Novak raced into a 5-2 advantage in the opening set before Matteo shifted into a higher gear, saving a set point on serve in the eighth game and pulling the break back to extend the action. With momentum on his side, Berrettini grabbed the tie break 7-4 with two mini-breaks and stole the opener after 70 minutes. Starting all over, Novak raced into a 5-1 lead in set number two, controlling the pace and serving for it at 5-2. Like the opener, Berrettini broke back to prolong his chances, rattling off three straight games before Djokovic held at love in game ten with a service winner to level the overall score. Both players claimed 28 points in the third set, and Novak took the most important ones to win it 6-4 with a break in game three. The Italian hit a double fault at 3-3 in the fourth set, and there was no way back for him. Novak returned at 5-3 and converted the third match point to seal the deal and celebrate his 20th Major title.

“I had knots in my stomach. I tried to force myself to eat, but it was hard to deal with pressure. I was in the locker room, and there were only Novak and me. He had already played over 30 Major finals and was more used to it than me; he could surely feel the tension. He was relaxing with music in his headphones, and I was there like, ‘I can not even eat some rice. How am I supposed to play?’ I remember my hands were sweating, I could not eat, and my head started spinning when I talked to my team. But then something snaps inside you, 20 or 30 minutes before the match when you start warming up. You feel that adrenaline rush and the desire to win; you feel like you could beat anyone. You say, ‘I’m here because I deserve it.’ Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” Matteo Berrettini said.

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