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Eye of the Coach #47: How Matteo Berrettini’s fighting spirit makes up for his big weakness

In the latest episode of Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou says it is the refusal to lose that makes Matteo Berrettini a top player

February 19, 2022
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Matteo Berrettini reached his first Grand Slam final at last year’s Wimbledon and has maintained his momentum at the start of 2022, making it to the semi-finals at last month’s Australian Open.

In the latest episode of Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou expresses his belief that the Italian has the firepower and self-belief to go even further, despite a major weakness in his game.

“Matteo Berrettini is a player that believes in himself and refuses to lose,” Mouratoglou says. “Watching him during the Australian Open, I was thinking that, wow, tennis-wise, in a way, if you look at the top guys, they all have that.

“Zverev, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Berrettini – this fighting spirit and the belief in their ability to win even in the most difficult situations, is at the top.”

Matteo Berrettini
AI / REUTERS / PANORAMIC

Serve and forehand outweigh weaker backhand

Mouratoglou says Berrettini is the only one of the top players with a “huge weakness” in his game, his backhand. But the Italian covers it well, by using slice to good effect and getting in a position to hit his monstrous forehand.

“In the big matches, against the best players, it’s a big disadvantage,” Mouratoglou says. “But he plays smart…he masters the slice backhand, which is a good shot when you have a great forehand, because, when you have a very good slice backhand that stays low, the opponent cannot really attack, they have to play with more spin.”

Mouratoglou says he puts Berrettini just below Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas because of the backhand but says his mental strength as on a par with most of his rivals.

“I remember seeing him play at the UTS (when he had not played for some time) and it looked like he didn’t know whether the backhand would go in the court or not” Mouratoglou says. “But, having zero confidence, with no backhand, he ended up winning it, beating Stefanos in the final, by refusing to lose, thanks to his competitiveness. He found a way to win.”

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