Matteo Berrettini’s opening match on home soil at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin ended in disappointment Sunday after he was forced to retire due to an injury to his left oblique at the start of the second set.
However, it was not before the Italian had produced a strong first-set performance, in which he pushed Alexander Zverev to a tie-break, before falling 7/9. The sixth seed was backed by a vocal crowd throughout against the German in an electric atmosphere at the Pala Alpitour. It is the first time the season finale has been held in Turin.
“The atmosphere was one of the best I ever felt in my life,” Berrettini said. “It was unbelievable. That is probably why I feel so bad right now. Not being able to finish the match is killing me. It is just really tough to face. I really wanted to enjoy every second, that’s what we said as a team. The worst thing that could have happened, happened.”
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Following the Australian Open in February, the 25-year-old was sidelined for two months due to an abdominal injury he suffered at the first major of the season. Berrettini admitted he is unsure, whether the injury, which forced him to retire against Zverev, is a recurrence of the same problem.
“It is mentally really tough for me because I used to have an injury close to the same area, so it is tough to play,” Berrettini said. “Also, I don’t know what it is. I have to figure out what it is and then if it is nothing really big, maybe I can play. Tomorrow with my team and the doctor I will do some checks and I hope it won’t be something that won’t let me play the next two matches.
“I just felt around the same area on the serve. I got scared and the mental part is the most important part. I remember coming back from that injury, to serve at full power I had to be brave, which is not easy when you felt something before. It was just impossible to keep playing.”
Berrettini, who lifted tour-level trophies in Belgrade and at the Queen’s Club earlier this year, was making his second appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, having also qualified in 2019 when the event was held in London.