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Tennis is highly appreciated in Italy, leaders like Berrettini excite the fans: Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem lost to Matteo Berrettini at the ATP Finals last year
Dominic Thiem lost to Matteo Berrettini at the ATP Finals last year
ANALYST
Modified 18 Sep 2020, 16:03 IST
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Matteo Berrettini kicked off his Rome Masters campaign with a thumping victory over Argentine player Federico Coria. Berrettini, who reached the US Open semifinals last year, is considered one of the best young players on tour currently - and World No. 3 Dominic Thiem agrees.

The Austrian recently launched hisΒ new website where he spoke in great detail about his competitors, one of whom is Berrettini. Thiem lauded the World No. 8's performance on the ATP Tour, saying that he is an Italian tennis leader.

On the website Thiem has also shared how Roger Federer behaves with him in the locker room, how he often talks about football with Rafael Nadal, and how he felt before his first match against the World No. 1 player Novak Djokovic.

Matteo Berrettini can enthuse the crowd, says Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem won the 2020 US Open
Dominic Thiem won the 2020 US Open

When asked about his opinion on the 24-year-old Matteo Berrettini, Dominic Thiem answered:

"His dream season in 2019 peaked at the Masters. Matteo had a couple of extremely tough matches, he can enthuse the crowd. In Italy in particular! The Italians are highly interested in sports, tennis is highly appreciated. That's why it is so important that leaders like Berrettini excite the fans."

It is pertinent to note that Matteo Berrettini has battled Dominic Thiem four times on the ATP tour. Their first meeting took place at the 2018 Roland Garros tournament, where the Austrian player emerged victorious in four sets.

The two talented players locked horns in Shanghai next, where Berrettini avenged his French Open defeat by knocking Dominic Thiem out. Thiem then beat the Italian player in Austria, before Berrettini bounced back with a brilliant win against him at the ATP Finals last year.

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Matteo Berrettini made his ATP main draw debut in 2017 and secured his first title at the Swiss Open in Gstaad the following year. Last year, he became the first Italian player since 1977 to reach the US Open semifinals - a feat that took him to the top 10 of the rankings.

Berrettini couldn't replicate the same performance this year as he lost to 10th seed Andrey Rublev in the pre-quarterfinals. However, he is looking strong at the ongoing Italian Open, and could be one of the players to challenge Rafael Nadal.

Dominic Thiem himself is not present in the Rome draw, but he will play in the upcoming French Open. After ending his Grand Slam title drought at Flushing Meadows, Thiem will be keen to follow that up by winning his maiden Roland Garros trophy - something that many believe is overdue.

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The Austrian had made it to the finals of the claycourt Slam in both 2018 and 2019.

Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini

On the other hand, Matteo Berrettini will look to continue building on his promise from last year and make more inroads at the biggest of tournaments. The Italian has never made it past the third round at the French Open, but he can certainly play on clay and would be hoping to make a breakthrough this year.

Published 18 Sep 2020, 16:03 IST
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