At the age of 14, Berrettini began training at another club in Rome so he could work with Vincenzo Santopadre, a former ATP tour player. And he has been with him ever since. ‘It’s been 10 years now,’ Berrettini says with a smile of satisfaction.
Handling a young player in today’s high pressure age is all about gauging the pace of his development. Too often, either coaches or parents are too anxious for early success. Santopadre ensured that did not happen with young Matteo. While contemporaries spent long hours on court every day, Berrettini’s coach recognised that the teenager was not ready, either mentally or physically, for the demands of the tour.
'I was ranked 400 at the end of 2016 and three years later I was 8!'
The need for knee surgery at 16 suggested as much, it was not until 19 that he earned his first ranking point, and he was 21 before he won his match at tour level in January 2018. ‘After that it was all very fast,’ he said. ‘I was ranked 400 at the end of 2016 and three years later I was 8!’