London, July 10 (IANS) Seventh seed, Italy’s Matteo Berrettini said he had to overcome a phase early this year when an injury could have stalled his progress, but he overcame the “struggles” to reach his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club.
Berrettini stormed into the Wimbledon final with a four-set victory over Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, the man who threw Roger Federer out of the grass-court tournament, on Friday evening.
“(My) first Slam final, I’m just so, so happy for everything. My year started in a good way, with the finals in ATP Cup. Then I got injured again. I kind of saw those ghosts again of my body kind of struggling,” Berrettini said in the post-match press conference on Friday.
“Again, I came back stronger. I think I fully deserve to be here. I want to enjoy like I did today. I want to enjoy my first final. Whoever’s going to win, I just appreciate what’s happening. So I’m very happy,” said Berrettini, who became the first player — man or woman — from his country to reach the singles final at Wimbledon.
The seventh seed, who also reached the 2019 US Open semi-finals, could become the first Italian man to lift a Grand Slam trophy since Adriano Panatta’s 1976 triumph at the French Open if he beats Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the final.
“(My emotions) are all over the place. At the same time, I think I handled the situation pretty well,” Berrettini said. “(When) I stepped in the court, I was feeling confident. I knew that I could win the match. I think I played my best match so far. So I’m really happy for my performance.”
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a strong grass-court season, after claiming the Serbia Open title and reaching the Mutua Madrid Open final where he lost to Germany’s Alexander Zverev on clay.
“Especially after the third set… I felt I could win that set, also win the match, but (that) didn’t happen. I said to myself, ‘You’re playing better than him, so keep going like this and you’re going to win.'”
Berrettini is the eighth Italian player, man or woman, to reach a Grand Slam singles final.