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Tennis, that’s who Stefano “The Hammer” Berrettini is

berrettini

He owes his nickname to his serve and forehand shots, which hit hard and nail his opponents. But few know his passion for travel, charms, cinema and literature, even committed

Genoa – Matteo Berrettini, “The Hammer” as they now call him on the circuit, because his racket with the serve and forehand is a hard-hitting hammer, keeping opponents away. But also Berrettini the seeker of adventures and emotions, a passion for pendants to be recovered around the world. Because Matteo Berrettini is a tennis player, indeed a great tennis player, the best ever that Italy has had on grass, but he is also a boy curious about his neighbor, about life, full of interests, from cinema – he loves Tarantino – to literature. also committed.

Romano, born in 1996, was born in tennis at the Circolo della Corte dei Conti, under the guidance of Raul Pietrangeli, at the age of 13 he moved to Canottieri Aniene, where Vincenzo Santopadre, the former Italian top 100 who since then took his hand he never left him, guiding him from his first junior successes – see the under 18s in Salsomaggiore – to the theaters that count in the tennis of the greats. Stefano Massari has always been with him, mental coach, friend, older brother, who knows how to whisper to Matteo’s complex thoughts, one who as a young man if he did not win is self-punishing, he sank into long melancholy. “But Matteo’s strength is that every time something goes wrong he knows how to distill a teaching from it, and always improves”. The first time for the knee injury that kept him still as a young man, when he was about to explode.

Mocked by the regulation at the first Next gen Finals, in 2017, between 2018 and 2019 it literally exploded. The first victory in Gstaad, in 2018, the year after two other centers, in Budapest, still on clay and in Stuttgart, the first on grass. And then the crazy semifinal at the Us Open, the first of an Italian after 40 years, the qualification for the ATP Finals in London. 2020 was the year of the rebound, between covids and bubbles, between quarantines and sadness, because ‘Matte’ is someone who needs contact with people, to be charged with energy, to dialogue with the world. Still injuries blocked him, still he managed to build a new platform on it, and in this 2021 he has lit a second stage of rockets. After Monte Carlo, with the disappointment of an early elimination that came after a long stop due to new physical problems, here is the success in Belgrade, and then the triumph on the grass: at the very prestigious Queen’s, where no Italian from 1890 to today had ever won . and now the semifinal at the Championships, in the tennis temple. And number 9 in the world, 7 in the Race that only counts the results of the calendar year, he overtook Federer, he is aiming again for the Finals that this year will be played in Turin.

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Tall (196), handsome, brilliant, he made the circuit fall in love with his firsts at 220 per hour and his model smiles, engaged to colleague Ajla Tomljanovic, a friend of everyone on the circuit. An ace and a page from Il Lupo della Steppe, the book that his Brazilian grandmother gave him, with whom he spent many New Years in Rio, in the years in which to give him a chance to become great the whole family, including his younger brother Jacopo , a tennis player too, they drove from tournament to tournament in the camper. A humble beginning, an amazing present, a future without apparent borders for a champion who has the makings of the strongest Italians, from Pietrangeli to Panatta, but knows well that life is not just tennis, and tennis is also life, emotion, challenge with himself. The most fascinating of journeys that have just begun for Matte. Today the semifinal on the Center Court with Hubert Hurkacz, who could open the room that no Italian has ever lived in, a Wimbledon final, tomorrow who knows.

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