‘I hate him’ jokes top 10 pro on rivalry with Novak Djokovic
One of many rivals of Novak Djokovic on the ATP tour has described just how great tough a competitor the 20-time slam champion really is.
Matteo Berrettini knew as much as almost anyone else about Djokovic on the ATP tour in 2021.
The Italian world number seven faced the world number one three times this season, each time at a Slam and each time at at least the quarter-final stage.
Overall the head-to-head between the two men is 4-0 in favour of Djokovic having also played each other at the 2019 ATP Finals in the round robin stage.
“Novak [Djokovic] is much better than me, he is an absolute champion,” Berrettini admitted in an interview.
“He has never done anything against me, other than the fact that I hate him because he always beats me every time we play.
“Of course I’m kidding about hate. He is in the history of our sport and he deserves to have all the records he is claiming.”
Berrettini first played Djokovic this year at Roland Garros, losing in four sets in the quarter-finals.
They met again soon after in the final of Wimbledon, Berrettini’s maiden Major final appearance, which he again lost in four sets.
Finally, at the US Open, Djokovic overcame Berrettini for a third time in 2021, again in the quarter-finals and again in four sets.
In fact, technically speaking, Berrettini only lost to Djokovic at Slams this year considering he withdrew from the Australian Open ahead of the fourth round there.
On his Wimbledon journey, Berrettini came to the attention of many by reaching the fourth round of the Slam in 2019.
There he faced Roger Federer for the first time, losing to the Swiss in straight sets.
But Berrettini first graced the courts of SW19 back in 2014 at the junior event.
“In 2014 I lost in the second round of the Wimbledon junior tournament,” the Italian said.
“When I was leaving the grounds I told myself I wanted to come back here at least one more time in my life.
“I always had the feeling that something incredible could happen in those fields. However, I never expected to reach the final.
“Winning Wimbledon has always been my dream ever since I was a child.”
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