Last year, defeated in the third round, Matteo Berrettini of Roland Garros missed “the atmosphere, the fans, in short, everything”. Satisfied. Tonight at 8 pm, for his quarter-final against Novak Djokovic, the Central will be able to host for the first time after ten days of the tournament a quota of spectators – 5 thousand, including health minister Olivier Veran and the secretary of “Numeric Transition”, monsieur Cedric O – also in the evening session. If anything, the problem is that Matteo will not have the irrelevant Almaier in front of him, but the number 1 in the world.
In Paris, the only Italian capable of beating seed number 1 – on the occasion Bjorn Borg, who however was number 2 in the world – was Adriano Panatta, in his magical year, 1976. Matteo, after the horrible 2020 and an encouraging start to 2021 just chases a click, a shot capable of getting it off the ground for good.
Facing a Number One, moreover on the central court of a Grand Slam, is not a match like any other, but a rite of passage, a further experience. Beating him, a rarity, at least for the Azzurri who in the Open era have managed a total of seven times with six players: Panatta, Barazzutti, Volandri, Fognini, Pozzi and Sonego, the last of the series last October in Vienna.
Berrettini the Big Three has already met them, always losing us, even if not all in the guise of number one. And with the Number One Emeritus, Roger Federer, he literally disbanded two years ago on the Center Court in Wimbledon, remedying a historic lesson. Now he must find the strength to leave the ritual behind, possibly breaking the taboo.
«I think Matteo can win today against all three, Roger, Rafa and Novak, on all surfaces. And also to win this Roland Garros », ventures, for once unbalanced, coach Santopadre. «He is no longer the same Matteo he was two years ago, he has a different awareness, he has grown in all respects. This is why I was sorry that he was unable to play with Federer. Even if it was a little useful for us ».
For Boris Becker Berrettini is the favorite today, «because he rested, and seeing the match with Musetti he understood that Novak is vulnerable». Between saying and Djokovic, however, five sets pass. «And Nole is a“ cagnaccio ”, a Slam animal. Maybe for two sets he seems to be in crisis, then he raises the level », adds Santopadre. Better not to be fooled, therefore, but to use the hard way. Especially with the service.
«Djokovic’s great weapon is the answer, if you take away that certainty, you’re already ahead. Matteo is a drummer, who breaks you, must refuse the prolonged exchange but also use the short ball, go to the net. And trust his instincts ». Enter the Central forest as a top ten, and come out of it as a champion. –
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