And the day came when Neil Armstrong de noantri, Matteo Berrettini, the first Italian in 144 years of history to step on the ground of the central court in a Wimbledon final, set his foot on the grass. Piover, says the BBC weather service, but only in the evening, perhaps: so on Wembley and not on Wimbledon. We will play outdoors, with the roof of the All England Club open and the sky above us and within us, hoping that the gods of tennis will look more sympathetically a 25-year-old Roman from the Nuovo Salario district to his first Grand Slam final rather than a Serbian phenomenon named Novak Djokovic on his thirtieth (19 wins), on the hunt for the feat of a lifetime, that Golden Slam (Major’s poker in the calendar year plus Olympic gold, an enormous success in two thousand years only for Steffi Graf in 1988) which would definitively consign him to history.

The human geography of the sample

Thanks to a good coach who has known him since he was 14, Vincenzo Santopadre, former top 100 in the world rankings, to a well-assorted staff (at the center of which the importance of a mental coach, Stefano Massari who has been following him for 9 years, of which it is no longer possible to speak), of the sincere affections that have never abandoned him (the Berrettini family, in the heart the totems Claudia and Luca, mum and dad, very united and also includes the archipelago of grandparents, precious figures in geography intimate of the boy), of a girlfriend tennis player herself, the Croatian naturalized Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, able to perfectly understand the needs of a super professional of the sport. It is necessary to have someone who understands you next to you, therefore a high-level sportsman – he explained Maria Sharapova, Queen of 5 Slams – because if I take a nap in the afternoon to recover my energy, I am a scrupulous athlete, not a loser.

A champion (also) of lightness

The tennis player Berrettini grew rapidly (2019 is crucial with the semifinal at the Open USA and the ATP Finals in London, served to acclimatize to the rarefied air of the top 10, the elite to which Matteo has now belonged for three seasons) alongside the character Berrettini. You put yourself in the hands ofagency of Ivan Ljubicic, former pro today coach of Federer, assisted by good professionals in the sector who do not distort it, enhance it. Matteo a sincere Roman, very little paraculo, opens up with the people he trusts, has no malice or subterfuges to be pleased. Bread to bread, wine to wine, gricia pasta and grandma Lucia’s carbonara whenever possible.

The difference with Djokovic

Djokovic, his opponent in the final at Wimbledon, a much more complex and constructed man: he comes from a war, initially made to appreciate for imitations of colleagues much appreciated by the public and much less by the same, chases records that we humans can not even imagine. Slam number 20 to match eternal rivals Federer and Nadal and crown the pursuit of a lifetime, yet another week at world number one. Huge sample, mind you, though Matteo travels lighter, with a trolley instead of Liz Taylor’s thousand trunks. And if it were precisely this light-heartedness, this joy of living so Roman and Italian and ours, the key to a match that could shoot us in the stars?

July 11, 2021 (change July 11, 2021 | 12:37)


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