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"Rafael Nadal is the LeBron James of tennis; Roger Federer, I would compare to Michael Jordan" - Matteo Berrettini

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 05 Jan 2021, 17:27 IST
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Matteo Berrettini recently drew an analogy between the Big 3 of men's tennis - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic - and basketball athletes. Berrettini's favorite sport outside of tennis is basketball, and according to him there are similarities between the top stars of the two sports.

The 10th-ranked Berrettini feels that Rafael Nadal is the LeBron James of tennis, given that they are both physically imposing specimens who achieved success early in their careers. The Italian also equated Roger Federer with Michael Jordan and Novak Djokovic with Kobe Bryant - the latter because of the unshakable temperament of the Serb.

"Rafael Nadal is the LeBron of tennis, in terms of physicality and because they both exploded (on the scene) very young," Berrettini said. "Roger Federer, I would compare him to Michael Jordan. Novak Djokovic reminds me of Kobe Bryant for how he remains cold (stoic) in difficult situations."

Roger Federer has shown many times that when he comes back, it is as if he had never stopped: Matteo Berrettini

Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open.
Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open.

The 24-year-old Matteo Berrettini recently signed with LSJ Sports, the agency headed by former World No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic. The Italian talked about the work of Ljubicic in particular, explaining how the Croat has given him confidence in his own abilities.

"He is a great professional and an excellent person. He believes in me, as per him I can become one of the strongest Italians ever," Berrettini said about his move.

Besides leading LSJ Sports, Ivan Ljubicic is also the coach of 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. The Swiss legend has pulled out of next month's Australian Open, but Berrettini believes Federer will return to the circuit soon and make a successful comeback.

"I know he (Federer) is training, I think he will be back as soon as possible. And he has shown many times that when he comes back, it is as if he had never stopped," Berrettini stated.

Matteo Berrettini missed out on qualifying for the season-ending ATP Finals last year, after having made his debut at the event in 2019. With the ATP Finals moving to Turin, Italy in 2021 for five years, the 24-year-old hopes to be among the eight men playing the event in front of his home fans.

"They are played in Italy this year and that is one more stimulus. When I qualified for London at the beginning of the 2019 season, I would never have imagined it. You have to keep dreaming big without it becoming an obsession," said Berrettini.
Published 05 Jan 2021, 16:27 IST
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