It’s never easy to compete in the first Major final, especially if you face a 19-time champion on the revered Wimbledon stage. When competing for his maiden Major title in the tennis cathedral in July 2021 against Novak Djokovic, Matteo Berrettini had that experience.
The Italian gave it his hardest to take on the most fearsome opponent but ultimately lost 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 and had to settle for second place. Speaking about the contest, Berrettini claimed that he was unable to eat due to how tight the match had grown, while Djokovic expressed that he felt at ease in the locker room next to him.
After the first set, Novak maintained his composure using his enormous experience, and he kept things under control starting in set two to secure the victory and win his 20th Major title. While already in the lead, the Serb was broken twice, and he snatched 40% of the return points, converting them into six breaks from 15 opportunities.
Djokovic won the third consecutive Wimbledon title with 31 victories, 21 unforced errors, and improved performance in crucial moments.
Regarding his preparation for the Wimbledon final, Matteo Berrettini spoke.
In the opening set, Novak quickly built a 5-2 lead before Matteo picked up the pace.
In the eighth game, Berrettini held serve to save a set point and returned the break to prolong play. With momentum on his side, the Italian stole the opening point after 70 minutes to win the tie break 7-4.
In the second set, Novak took control early and quickly built a 5-1 lead before serving for the match at 5-2. Similar to the first game, Berrettini broke back to extend his opportunities and won three straight games before Djokovic held at love in game 10 with a service winner to tie the match.
In the third set, both players scored 28, but Novak took the crucial points to win it 6-4 with a break in game three. At 3-3 in the fourth set, the Italian committed a double fault, ending his chances of tying the match. At 5-3, Novak came back and converted the third match point to clinch the victory and win his 20th Major championship.
“I experienced stomach cramps. I made an effort to make myself eat, but the pressure was difficult to bear. Only Novak and I were present in the locker room. He was more accustomed to it than I was because he had already participated in over 30 Major finals; he could sense the stress.
I was there, thinking, “I can’t even eat some rice,” as he was unwinding with music playing through his headphones. How exactly do I play? When I spoke to my team, I can still picture my palms getting sweaty and my thoughts racing. But around 20 or 30 minutes before the game, while you’re warming up, something inside of you snaps.
You experience a rush of energy and a strong drive to triumph; you believe you can defeat anyone. I’m here because I deserve it, you claim. You can win some games and lose some “said Matteo Berrettini.