“What they have achieved is not normal,” Matteo Berrettini comments on the Big-3’s unparalleled domination

The Italian acknowledged that the challenge of replacing the three legends of the sport was not easy


“What they have achieved is not normal,” Matteo Berrettini comments on the Big-3’s unparalleled domination

The 'Big Three' and Matteo Berrettini

Matteo Berrettini has hit back at his critics and said that the dominance of the ‘Big 3’ of tennis had distorted the perception of what it takes to be consistent in the sport of tennis. The Italian also hit back at suggestions that he is getting distracted from his career and focussed more on off-field matters.

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Berrettini’s comments emerged from an interview with Paolo Rossi of La Repubblica. He was reacting to the heat of criticism he has faced due to his poor start to 2023 when he said, “But doesn’t it happen in all sports? It’s not that you always go up in terms of performance. We are human: there are emotions, tiredness, accidents. It lacks a little balance. I understand that we have become accustomed to Federer-Djokovic-Nadal who have dominated tennis making it seem normal to be No. 1 for 10 years, but it is not.”

The ATP World No.23 is one of many tipped to be the one to take up the mantle from the ‘Big-3’ of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The three tennis legends have won 64 Grand Slam titles between them. They have dominated the tennis landscape throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Their most difficult matches came against each other. All others in their way were dispatched with ease. The Big-3 were temporarily the Big-4 until Andy Murray’s career-threatening injury in 2018.

But there is hope from the fans for a player from the new generation to emerge and be as dominant as these legends. Every emerging player is hyped up when winning and heavily criticised when losing. Berrettini spoke about this and said, “The more exposed you become – not even famous – and you become the target of attacks, especially if things don’t go as you would like, or as people would like. Personally I have no doubts about what I’m doing. I don’t feel I’ve taken a different path from tennis. I’m the same guy as always.”

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Related: Stefano Massari defends Matteo Berrettini’s girlfriend Melissa Satta after she was blamed for his recent downfall

Matteo Berrettini’s poor start to 2023

Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini

Berrettini has not had a good start to the 2023 tennis season. The Italian was coming off the back of a positive 2022. He had reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows. There were big expectations from him.

He started the year decently at the United Cup too, defeating higher-ranked Casper Ruud. He was then matched up against Andy Murray in the first round of the Australian Open. Berrettini was entering the first Grand Slam tournament as the 13th seed and was expected to win the clash. However, Murray didn’t follow the script. The Scotsman battled hard and took the match to the fifth set. Berrettini then lost the final set in the tiebreak to surprisingly crash out in Melbourne.

Berrettini then crashed out of the Mexican Open in the quarterfinals to Holger Rune. He also surprisingly lost his first-round clash at the Indian Wells Masters to Taro Daniel. He is now in the round of 16 of the Phoenix Challenger, a result he hopes to build on.

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