Boom time for Berrettini as Becker offers advice

Published: 09:43 PM, 30 Jun, 2021
Boom time for Berrettini as Becker offers advice
Caption: Italy's Matteo Berrettini returns against Argentina's Guido Pella during their men's singles first round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.
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Matteo Berrettini became the first debutant to win the Queen's tournament since Boris Becker in 1985 and the Italian revealed the three-time Wimbledon champion has passed on some advice.

Becker went on to win the first of his Wimbledon titles unseeded and aged just 17 shortly after winning at Queen's and many fancy Berrettini to go deep into the tournament.

The amiable Italian said it was an honour to be compared to the German but perhaps wide of the mark.

Berrettini could be described as a relatively late developer certainly compared to Becker.

The German had by the age of 25 won five of the six Grand Slam singles titles -- Berrettini's best showing so far is a semi-final spot at the 2019 US Open.   

"I mean, of course it feels great to being told that," he said after moving into the second round having beaten Argentinian Guido Pella 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.

"At the same time I know that I did not achieve maybe a quarter of what he achieved in his career.

"Of course it feels nice to hear my name close to him."

Berrettini, though, said meeting him by chance had been an awesome moment.

"I think the best part was that I met him as soon as I got here (Wimbledon).

"He was walking by. He stopped. I was surprised because he knew who I was. He made me feel good.

"He told me like, Well done. Now we have something in common. I was like, Okay. So he knew."

Berrettini said he felt humbled in the 53-year-old Becker's presence.

"I was like, Yeah, I wish I have everything in common, like all the titles and stuff.

"I'll try to get there. He also told me I had to keep my mind clear to have a long run here. I'll try to do that."

Advice Berrettini could have sorely used two years ago at Wimbledon.

Seeded 17 he reached the fourth round only to be routed by eight-time champion Roger Federer in just 74 minutes.

"Thanks for the tennis lesson, how much do I owe you?" he quipped to the Swiss legend.

However, Berrettini has made giant strides since then but he shrugs aside being compared to Becker as heaping more pressure on him. 

"I mean, pressure and these kind of things I think it's a privilege in a way," he said of the comparison.

"If someone told me a few years ago, 'Look, they're going to compare your name to Becker', I would be, I don't know, I would feel great.

"It feels great. I know now I step in the court and people around me in general, they expect me to win. I expect myself to win."

The next man to challenge the seventh seed's expectation of victory will be Dutch lucky loser Botic van de Zandschulp.


Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.