WIMBLEDON – Matteo Berrettini is ignoring social media ahead of Wimbledon for the time being. Not simply, mind you, to avoid negative comments from strangers — or not just for that reason, anyway — but to stay away from positive messages, too.
Let’s let the player who was a finalist at the All England Club in 2021 explain:
“People believe in me, which is beautiful, but I also got to a point where I realized that nine out of 10 people who ask me something, the next phrase they write is, ‘This year, you’ll win Wimbledon,’” Berrettini said Sunday. “And so I need to protect myself from that sort of thing, too.”
Even thoughts from other people that are meant to be supportive can get in his head and create problems, in part by raising the pressure with regard to what sort of result he is “supposed” to achieve.
“I consider myself pretty mature,” said Berrettini, a 27-year-old from Italy who has been ranked as high as No. 6 and is outside the top 35 now, “but it's not easy to handle it all.”
Particularly during a season when hand surgery and an abdominal muscle problem have limited him to 14 matches.
“I need to try to focus on the things that brought me to where I got, such as hard work, keeping my head down, doing what I like to do — fight, and believe in my team and my family,” Berrettini said. “So that’s what I’m doing.”
He missed Wimbledon a year ago after testing positive for COVID-19 and faces Lorenzo Sonego — a countryman and his best friend on tour — in the first round on Tuesday.
ELENA RYBAKINA DEFENDS HER TITLE
A year ago at Wimbledon, everything was new to Elena Rybakina.
She had been past the fourth round only once — and never past the quarterfinals — in 11 previous Grand Slam appearances. She was not among the leading seeds or among the favorites.
And now? Now she returns to the All England Club as the defending champion. Plus, she showed that was no fluke by reaching the final at the Australian Open in January.
“I know what to expect, how it works, if you actually go that far in the tournament,” Rybakina said Sunday. “Psychologically I would say that it’s a bit easier than when you don’t know what to expect.”
She is seeded No. 3 in the women’s bracket and will play Shelby Rogers of the United States in the first round on Tuesday.
Rybakina pulled out of the French Open before her third-round match last month because of a viral illness, then cited that reason again when she withdrew from a grass-court tournament in England last week.