Matteo Berrettini has opened up on the immense personal pressures that come with becoming a top tennis player.
The Italian has made huge strides in the last couple of years, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final, breaking into the top ten, and qualifying for his first ATP Finals.
He is at the point now where he is a legitimate contender for any tournament he enters, and he was looking particularly impressive at the Australian Open before injury halted him in the quarterfinals.
Berrettini, though, has urged everyone to resist the temptation to think that things get easier when you reach the top ten.
“When you get near the top, there is so much more you have to deal with, and not just tennis, but personal things too,” he told Eurosport.
“Before, my life seemed much simpler; I go to the court, I play tennis, I think about winning.
“Today, there are so many more things to think about: managing expectations, those of others as well as my own, but also maintaining my relationships.
“Even with my family and friends, things change as I don’t see them anywhere near as often, and that’s tough to get used to.
“That led to the realisation that tennis can take you away from the life you were once used to.
“It can feel as though you’re transported to this sort of dimension, where it’s just you and your results. It takes time to readjust to that and get used to a new reality.
“There are players who take longer to adjust, while others need less time. For me, family and friends mean so much in life, and that’s maybe why it is taking me a little longer to get to that point.
“The higher you go, the more complicated things get.
“Because in addition to all of your worries about the technical and physical aspects of your game, which are fundamental, you also have to train the boss, as they say in Rome, the head.”
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