Matteo Berrettini (Rio Open/Fotojump)

The anticipated appearance of Matteo Berrettini at the Rio Open presented by Claro ended up earlier than the Brazilian crowd expected.

The “half Brazilian’, as he called himself because of his carioca grandmother, said goodbye to the tournament after two matches: he received a bye at the first round, defeated Thiago Monteiro on the second and was stunned by rising star Carlos Alcaraz at the quarterfinals this Saturday.

But even though his time on court was brief, Berrettini said that he really felt supported in Rio.

“I really wanted to play here in Rio. The atmosphere was great, the crowd was really nice. I had two different experiences, with Thiago and Carlos, playing against someone from Brazil and then against Carlos, that is loved by the crowd but not like that. I felt a lot of support, I saw people cheering for me and I think they are really passionate about tennis because they had to wait a lot. This is a great place to play tennis”, said the Italian, who made his first appearance in a South American tournament.

Ranked sixth in the world, Berrettini was playing for the first time since reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

“It was a nice week in a way because I really wanted to play here, but unluckily the weather was not the best. It was really hard to adjust to the conditions, it stoped my matches so many times, so that’s  not ideal.”

On Friday, his match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro was interrupted for six hours due to the rain. On Saturday, once again the rain disrupted his match against Alcaraz, this time for about two hours.

“Yesterday I managed to win my match after the interruption and today I wasn’t. Carlos played a really good match, playing against him is always a good fight. The experience in Rio was really good I really hope next time the weather is better.  The weather is something you can’t control, it was just unlucky. When I decided to come here I thought it was going to be hot, because its summer, so I was prepared for the heat, not for the rain, but I guess nobody is ready for this kind of weather. I’m not saying I’m not coming back because I really like to play here, to play on clay. Never say never”, said last year’s Wilmbledon runner-up.

Berrettini also praised Alcaraz, 18, who now leads 2-1 their matchups. “The match was high level. I think I didn’t play bad the first and third sets, he just played better than me. Of course the interruption was not ideal because I was feeling good and I think I was playing better than him that moment. But he deserved the win tonight. Carlos is gonna have the brightest future in the ATP.”

Berrettini now plays in Acapulco, where he faces American Tommy Paul at his debut in Mexico.

Share this post on: