Berrettini, Santopadre speaks: "He used the stop to grow"

Seventy-one days. Many have gone through the surgery on the right hand that he forced Matteo Berrettini to skip all season on clay. The current No. 10 in the world has spent the spring between physiotherapy and rehabilitation and for his awakening she has chosen Stuttgarta tournament he won in 2019 and which today will mark his return to the field. Vincenzo SantopadreBerrettini’s coach since he was 15, has the experience – as well as eyes and sensitivity – to grasp how this time spent away from the pitch was different from the previous stops and how the blue managed to elaborate the latter stop, divided between the desire to return and the calm necessary to be able to do it without risk: “He did his duty as a hard worker, and he did it well.”

How did you come to this return?

«It was a fairly long and gradual process, you had to be patient and respect medical times. It was a progressive and growing recovery with the aim of returning to compete, which is the main one for any agonist ».

How is Matteo?

“We’ll find out along the way. He proved to be a great agonist and was craving: however, there were times to be respected to avoid relapses. Injuries can also harm you mentally, you have to learn to manage them, overcome them, he always says he wants to come back stronger and we try to transform these breaks into opportunities to establish our priorities with greater clarity. I am convinced that he has taken advantage of these two and a half months to improve both in the game and in the physical ».

Speaking of injuries: Nadal at Roland Garros proved to be stronger even than the one he lives with.

«Rafa is so unreachable that he can only be admired. He has been through a lot of cooked and raw, he has to play knowing that he could potentially do more and nevertheless he mentally accepts every difficulty. To be able to do what he did, you must be animated by an incredible fire ».

What short-term goals did you set with Matteo at the start of the grass season?

«We are looking for what is most needed and most lacking: reliving the pre-race tension, the heavy points, the competitive spirit with everything that goes with it. This is the goal. Then we want to play as much as possible. Two and a half months off is a long time for a tennis player ».

Stuttgart evokes good memories

“The original program did not foresee it. There was Roland Garros and then we had planned a break in preparation for the season on the grass. The injury meant that the conditions were created for this pleasant return, returning to where you have already won is always nice. It’s good for you ».

The season on the green will end at Wimbledon, which this year will not award points: how did you welcome this decision?

“We didn’t have a great time. Taking away points is a very strong and painful choice and I imagine and understand that the ATP did it with a view to future investment for tennis players. I have some doubts as to whether it can bring benefits, I am skeptical. But we must look ahead ».

It is a choice that will have consequences for Matteo in terms of ranking.

«It is obvious that Matteo will be penalized. Knowing this earlier, we could have made different choices, also in terms of injury and operation. It’s a pretty big penalty for him, but it’s not our nature to complain. Ranking has never been a problem: it’s a performance-related number. In our philosophy we have never set numerical results as objectives and we will do so again this time ».

Did you follow the good results of the blue girls at Roland Garros?

“I’m happy, really. We got used to it well thanks to the results obtained by Pennetta, Errani & c. There had been a decline, of course, but what Trevisan and Giorgi did this year in Paris was incredible. They are successes of Italian tennis and are a source of pride ».

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