Matteo Berrettini finds Novak Djokovic ‘beatable’ on Clay as compared to facing Rafael Nadal on hardcourts

Berrettini gave the example of his match against Djokovic in 2021 French Open quarterfinals.


Matteo Berrettini finds Novak Djokovic ‘beatable’ on Clay as compared to facing Rafael Nadal on hardcourts

(L-R) Novak Djokovic, Matteo Berrettini and Rafael Nadal (Via user generated content)

With the 2023 Davis Cup finally getting down to the business ends, the last four countries are desperate to clinch the title on Sunday. With Australia already making it to the finals after a great 2-0 win over Finland, now it’s the turn for Novak Djokovic to take Serbia to the final. But they will face a tough task from the Italian side despite one of Italy’s best Matteo Matteo Berrettini not featuring in the competition this time.

Berrettini has been out of action for some time due to his continuous struggles with injuries, which also saw him drop down to the 90th position in the rankings. He will be present in the stands of the stadium in Malaga to support his teammates. But during a press conference ahead of the game, he talked about how hard it was to play Rafael Nadal and Djokovic back when he faced them.

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I don't know. I think they are different players, so it's really difficult to say which is more difficult. I must say that in Paris, I had the impression that it was the closest match I played. I lost all my matches against them, but in Paris I felt like the dynamic changed a little.
Matteo Berrettini (H/T: welovetennis)

Berrettini said it was tough to choose between them, but expressed his feelings on the 2021 French Open matchup against the Serbian. He said it was the only match he felt that he could have beaten the 24-time Grand Slam champion. Through Berrettini’s words, it was evident that he was trying to strike a fact that Djokovic could be defeated on clay.

The Italian player further added:

And then, I don't know if you remember, they stopped the match and we stayed in the locker room for 25 minutes. I lost the rhythm a little, and it was obvious that he was playing very well. But overall, this was the match where I felt closest to Novak.

What was Novak Djokovic’s Djokovic’s verdict after his quarter-final match against Berrettini?

Novak Djokovic survived a scare against the then ninth-seeded Berrettini at the 2021 Roland Garros. Having been without a French Open title for the last 4 years, the Serbian was under a lot of pressure to finally claim his second title in Paris. But it was not just the unwillingness trait of the Italian to give up the match that made it tough for Djokovic, but an incident in the stands during the match also sparked quite some tension.

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Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini after their match at the 2021 French Open.
Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini after their match at the 2021 French Open. (credits: Reuters)

After the match, Nole talked about the intense pressure he felt during the game due to which he forced some mistakes in the third set. He said,

This match had it all: falls, crowd, break. It was a lot of intensity. I just felt under tension the entire time and missed some chances to end it in three. It was just super, super stressful to constantly be under pressure... the reaction in the end was just me liberating that tension that was building up for the entire match.

After losing the third set and sitting out in the dressing room for half an hour, the match finally resumed and Djokovic finally got the job done. He won the match eventually by 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 to set up an eventful semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal.

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