Matteo Berrettini says losing to Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Masters final 'hurt,' but he believes he can use that to push on to even greater heights.
Berrettini played some brilliantly powerful tennis in the tournament, and for a while he looked like he was going to get the best of Zverev in the final, particularly when he won the first set.
Zverev was not to be denied, though, and he battled back brilliantly to deny the Italian a win in his first Masters final.
"I'm really proud of myself [and] the work I've done, not just in the past months, but in my career so far,” Berrettini said.
“I wasn't one of the guys at 18, 19 or 20 [who] was thinking about these kinds of achievements. I really worked hard to be here.
“Now that I'm here, I'm upset I lost. It's important for my tennis, for my level. Sascha won, not easily, but in two sets against Thiem and Rafa [Nadal], and today [he] was struggling against me.
"This is definitely a good feeling and something that I have to use, to build [on] in my next tournaments. It hurts now, but I know this loss is going to be useful."
Berrettini already made a career breakthrough by reaching a Masters final, and it saw him climb one spot in the world rankings to number nine.
When reflecting on the final, though, he said he could not be too hard on himself given the level of his performance.
“I had a break point in the third [set]. I think he played really good. I returned a serve that was going 220 [km /h] something. This is just tennis.
“I actually felt that in the first set, even though I was up a break, I wasn't playing my best tennis.
"I was playing really good [at] the beginning of the second [set] and I couldn't get the break. In the third [set], it was a fight. [I have] no regrets at all. I left it all [on the court].
“My goals are to play big and good in the big tournaments: Grand Slams and Masters 1000s. Obviously, [it] was a great win and great run also in Belgrade.
"We all know when you're top 10, when you reach a certain level, you want to win the big tournaments. This was my first (Masters 1000) final. Hopefully, it's not going to be my last.”
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