“Was So Nervous and Shaking”: Matteo Berrettini Recalls First Meeting with Idol Roger Federer

Published 04/23/2021, 12:03 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 9, 2021 Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates winning his first round match against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


Italian tennis star Matteo Berrettini has opened up on his first meeting with his childhood idol. In a chat with atptour.com, the 25-year-old Italian said he grew up idolizing 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.

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He revealed that he still has fond recollections of his first meeting with the Swiss champion, which was at a practice hit in 2015.

Matteo Berrettini says he first came face-to-face with Roger Federer for a practice hit in 2015

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Recalling his first brush with the great man, Berrettini said he worked up a nervous sweat and was “shaking” when he came face-to-face with Federer.

“It was a long time ago. I think the first time I hit with Roger, in 2015, was a big thing for me. I was so nervous and shaking. I was sweating so much before we started hitting. That’s a great memory,” the current World No.10 said.

As far as head-to-head record goes, Berrettini has yet to put one across Federer, with the Swiss winning on both occasions they faced each other across the court.

Both of their head-to-head meetings came at marquee events – fourth round of 2019 Wimbledon Championships and a round-robin encounter at the Nitto ATP Finals in London that same year.

Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand during his Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match against Tennys Sandgren of the United States on day nine of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

The champion came within a whisker of lifting his ninth career Wimbledon title that year, with Novak Djokovic famously saving two match points to turn the championship clash in his favor.

The epic final was eventually decided 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) in favor of the current World No.1.

Matteo Berrettini took Italy to its maiden ATP Cup final this year

This season started on a bright note for Berrettini as he led Italy to its maiden ATP Cup final in Melbourne.

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However, Italy tripped at the final hurdle as both Berrettni and senior pro Fabio Fognini lost their single match-ups against red-hot Russians Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev.

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Following up on his strong showing at the ATP Cup, the 25-year-old reached the pre-quarters of the Australian Open before an injury forced him to pull out of the tournament ahead of his last-16 clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

835 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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