2 – The weeks spent in the top 50 ATP already experienced by Matteo Berrettini in April 2019, when at 23 he began to give a decisive positive turn to his career by winning, as the 55th player in the world, the ATP 250 of Budapest. The Roman tennis player before the title in Magyar land – arrived at an age in which in modern tennis those destined for a great career have almost always already reached at least the top 20 of the ranking – had collected in the major circuit, against 29 defeats , only 25 wins (none of which against a top ten and only three were against colleagues between the eleventh and twentieth ATP position). Until April three years ago Matteo only counted the title obtained the previous summer on the red clay of Gstaad in his personal showcase and in the major circuit, in addition to this success, he only boasted a semi and a quarter final. Despite this unusual and “slow” start, Berrettini is still having a leading role in the circuit since 2019 and – after the first round more than three years ago won atHungarian Open vs Kukhuskin – won 103 more matches, losing 40. A conspicuous haul of games brought home positively that allowed him to participate in two editions of the ATP Finals, to add six more titles to his personal list (last week he repeated the victory at the prestigious Queen’s obtained in June 2021), to reach four further finals (the most important at the last Wimbledon, but it is also worth mentioning the one at the Masters 1000 in Madrid, dated May 2021) and five suits (two of which at Grand Slam level, one of the Masters 1000 category).
His physique – powerful but fragile – in recent years has not allowed him to play on the circuit with great continuity: Matteo has taken part in 45 tournaments since April three years ago to date and to understand how they are quite few it is enough to calibrate this figure with the normal activity of a good level tennis player, which generally varies between 20 and 25 competitions per season. However, the activity in the circuit, sustained almost constantly in fits and starts, did not prevent Berrettini from reaching the sixth position in the ranking and to stop for 116 weeks in the top ten. The latter is a record for an Italian tennis player in the Open Era: Panatta – which however rose to 4 ATP and boasts a much more prestigious showcase – remained in the top 10 for 52 weeks, Barazzutti for 45, Fognini for 9. Berrettini came out of the top ten of the ranking just last Monday, a step back to which was added the insult of having been damaged by the lack of possibility of being able to defend the 1300 points of the final won at Wimbledon in 2021. A choice of sports policy that strongly penalizes Matteo, eighth seeded at the upcoming 2022 edition of Wimbledon, but quoted as the second favorite for the victory of the Championships by almost all sports betting agencies.
After all, the numbers of Berrettini on the grass are known to all: this year the blue arrives at Church Road having won nine straight games on grass, twenty of the last twenty-one and 31 of the last 34. The legitimate objections of skeptics to these numbers are also known: of this long list of matches won, only two came against the top ten (both correspond to successes against Khachanov, dated three years), while Berrettini’s last victories on grass against the top 20 go back to last Wimbledon. Also this year the two titles brought home in Stuttgart and London have arrived facing only one top 30 and four top 50. It remains that it is not Berrettini’s fault not to have met the strongest colleagues along the path of his two seasonal triumphs and that an indispensable gift – and always too underestimated – to be a great player in all respects is the continuity of performance. Matteo excels in this characteristic: since, since April 2021, having just returned from his umpteenth injury, he has won the ATP 250 in Belgrade, the Roman has won 50 of the 57 games played against tennis players with a worse ranking than his own. Of these, two came against Alcaraz – whose ranking for his very young age and relative low activity in the circuit was distorted compared to the value of his tennis -, one came by retirement against Tommy Paul when the match against the American was substantially equal points and a couple more can be explained by the not perfect physical conditions with which Matteo played them. Despite the aforementioned uncertainties about whether the Italian number 1 may already be able to beat Djokovic and Nadal – all the more at the best of five sets and with the related emotional load of important matches – they are comforting in view of the next Wimbledon and for the continuation of his still a young career both the deep dedication to professional growth and the extraordinary tennis intelligence, qualities capable of allowing Berrettini to work hard and well to improve himself and become a player always a bit more technically complete and skilled in managing the different moments of the match. If, however, the excellent numbers of Matthew on the grass are known to all, perhaps there is a tendency to undermine his competitiveness too much on other surfaces, a gift that makes him one of the most complete and competitive players in this sense on the circuit.
To better understand it, we collected different performance statistics of the best players according to the indications of the current ranking, we then added to our study out of curiosity two tennis legends (Murray and, above all, Federer) and finally compared their numbers with those of ours. two best tennis players according to the ranking, Berrettini and Sinner. Obviously, we focused on the period in which Matteo became one of the protagonists of the ATP circuit and therefore our spectrum of analysis started from the second half of April 2019 to get to last week’s tournaments. The data collected – tournaments won and finals reached divided by tournament category, games won and lost overall and divided by opponent’s ranking range, as well as by surface – we have cataloged them in three tables that we submit to your curiosity. What emerges by taking a look at them is a series of interesting and various indications that we leave to your desire to browse and deepen.
|Player name||ranking 22 April 2019||current ranking||games won /lost||% W||finals won /lost|
|Player name||Slams Won /endings||Big tournaments * won /endings||budget vs top 5 ATP||% W||budget vs 6-10ATP||% W||budget vs 11-20ATP||% W|
* Masters 1000, ATP Finals, Olympic Games
|Player name||concreteoutdoors||% W||Earthjoke||% W||grass||% W||hardindoor||% W|
However, returning to what we are interested in highlighting a fact here, it should be emphasized: Matteo performs substantially on the same level as his other more celebrated colleagues. Obviously we exclude from this consideration champions such as Djokovic, Nadal, Medvedev and Zverev himself, capable of winning almost all the Grand Slams (“missing” in this sense the Us Open won by Thiem in 2019) and most of the “Great tournaments” ( Masters 1000, ATP Finals and Olympic Games) played from late spring three years ago until today. Even Tsitsipas himself has won qualitatively (two Monte Carlo and the ATP Finals) and quantitatively more than our representative, against whom he also leads 2-0 head to head. However, that the gap to be recovered on the Greek is not already huge is testified by the percentage of successes in relation to the games played by the blue. In fact, Matteo has won 72.2% of games played in the last 38 months, against Stefanos’ 70.9%. Precisely according to this statistic in the men’s circuit, apart from the 4 matadors (in different proportions between them) of the last three years, only Rublev has done better than the blue (and Andrey is also preferred for the current greater effectiveness of his tennis against the best colleagues). But if we then compare the notice board of the 24-year-old Russian with that of the Italian, we see that the latter has won and obtained more important placings than the current number 8 ATP, against which he also leads the direct clashes for 3 to 2. Certainly, in terms of competitiveness against his greatest colleagues, Matteo has ample room for growth: even if only stopping at the period of the explosion of his career, against the top 5 he won only in 4 of the 17 circumstances he faced them, winning 14 of the 45 sets played.
In any case, the copious numbers collected regarding the performance of the strongest players in the world since April 2019 certify that Berrettini has definitely deserved the prestigious ranking occupied in the last two and a half years. As he also said in recent days, Matteo has all the means to recover, perhaps with interests, what injuries and the failure to assign points at Wimbledon are taking away from him. All that remains is to enjoy the Championships edition starting next Monday to get the first answers on the matter.