Matteo Berrettini in the final at Wimbledon against Novak Djokovic. Roberto Mancini’s Italy at Wembley against England in the Euro 2020 final. In London, the Italian sport lives a special Sunday, with the hope of sculpting the date of 11 July 2021 in the history of tennis and Italian football. At Wimbledon, on the All England Club Center Court, Berrettini aims to crown a dream tournament. The 25-year-old from Rome, the first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the London Slam, challenges the number 1 in the world at 3 pm. Djokovic is chasing the third title in a row and sixth overall on the London grass. The Serbian champion plays the 30th final in a Grand Slam tournament, has won 19 major titles: all numbers that reinforce his status as a favorite.
Berrettini, however, arrives at the epilogue of the tournament after a dream month. He triumphed at Queen’s, Wimbledon starter, and showed his best tennis between quarter-finals and semi-finals. He lost the two direct matches with Djokovic, the last one on clay at Roland Garros, but he never crossed paths with ‘Nole’ on the grass. “Busy day”, he writes on Instagram preparing for the ‘special sunday’. “I am excited and proud to be able to represent Italy in the most historic tennis arena in the world,” he says, also preparing to pass the baton to the national football team. “I want to say good luck to the coach @ mrmancini10 and to all the @azzurri guys who will take the field”, he adds.
At 21, about twenty km from Wimbledon, the final act of Euro 2020 takes place. At Wembley Italy faces the hosts for the continental title. The dream of the new blue ‘magic nights’, 15 years after the 2006 World Cup triumph, against the ‘it’s coming home’ catchphrase of the Three Lions, who are looking for a triumph that has been absent for over half a century, since the 1966 World Cup played at home. “We have overcome a path full of difficulties and with great effort. We hope to have fun again 90 ‘and then go on vacation: we need a last effort”, says the coach Mancini.
“We have to be calm knowing that it will be a difficult match for many reasons, we have to be focused on our game,” he says. At the stadium, Italian fans will be in a clear minority. “We hope to hear them eventually. We have other things to think about during the match,” he says. “We will need a warm heart and a cold head”, says captain Giorgio Chiellini. “Matches like this may never happen again in a footballer’s career, it is fortunate to play them. We are all aware of the importance of the match. Carefree and a touch of madness have allowed us to get here and will have to be used to make us win this cup.” he adds.
On the other side of the fence, an entire country is pushing the selection. The images of the coach of England escorted by thousands of people make an impression. “We are here to win. For the cup. We arrived in the final representing England in the best possible way. And now, after what the boys have done, the goal is only one: the cup”, says coach Gareth Southgate. Also cheering, Queen Elizabeth, who sent a message to the technical commissioner: “I hope that history will remember not only your success, but also your spirit, commitment and pride”.